Immersed in nature: Herefordshire Wildlife Trust hopes to provide families with wildlife holidays by restoring two barns

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust has applied for planning permission to restore two stone barns on a nature reserve in South Herefordshire. The barns will be designed as rustic holiday accommodation offering a chance to be surrounded by the sights and sounds of wildlife in the Herefordshire countryside.

Tretawdy Farm Nature Reserve lies on the edge of Llangrove village and is made up of several large fields, totalling 27 acres, which the Trust is restoring to wildflower meadows, wide hedgerows and areas of scrub. Over a dozen butterfly species have been recorded at the site, and the thick hedgerows attract many types of birds and mammals such as the dormouse, whilst owls hoot and bats forage overhead at night.

Left to Herefordshire Wildlife Trust by Mrs Eileen Cook, she asked that the farm was cared for as a nature reserve and that the Trust should use its best endeavours to provide education and enlightenment for the public and especially young people at the farm.

Keen to find a positive use for the stone barns on the farm that will bring more people closer to nature, Herefordshire Wildlife Trust plans to restore them sympathetically to retain their traditional character with added eco-friendly features. The barns will have a living green roof and part of the design includes an integrated wetland system for waste water where water is guided through a series of wetland ditch features, filtered by native plants, before entering a clean water pond surrounded by fruit trees and nut bushes. Restoring the barns, in a sensitive way that enhances their character, will give them a new lease of life, whilst providing families somewhere to stay in the heart of this beautiful place and enabling the immersive experience that Eileen was keen people should enjoy. The holidays will also provide the much-needed funds to protect the farm’s special wildlife and give other people the opportunity to visit.

Helen Stace, Chief Executive of Herefordshire Wildlife Trust says: “We are always looking for different ways to engage people in nature and this will offer an immersive nature reserve experience for wildlife lovers. The tranquil wildlife setting will be a key draw for families seeking some restorative time out in nature. 

"The need for family holiday options in the UK has never been greater at this difficult time – and people’s desire to spend time seeking solace in nature has been widely acknowledged. Guests can enjoy the peace and quiet of the nature reserve and learning about its wildlife, as well as visiting nearby family attractions in Monmouthshire and the Wye Valley AONB.”

The need for family holiday options in the UK has never been greater at this difficult time – and people’s desire to spend time seeking solace in nature has been widely acknowledged.

Eco-tourism is widely seen as a positive way to bring income to rural communities as it is low-impact and supports the restoration of wildlife habitats and sites. Income from the holiday lets will provide much needed funds for our nature recovery work at a time when charities have been hit hard by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

There has never been a more uncertain time for charities and finding new ideas that both contribute towards our objectives and bring us income is vital.

If the planning application is approved, the Trust plan to begin the renovations this autumn, opening to guests by summer 2021.

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