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New chalk stream nature reserve opens in Oxfordshire

22/03/2010 21:42:19 Iconic habitat secured for wildlife at Letcombe Valley Nature Reserve

March 2010. Letcome Brook, a chalk stream, runs the length of the 7.5 hectare reserve. Chalk stream habitat is very rare world wide and in England is found only in the south and east. The stream is home to water voles, bullheads and brook lampreys, all protected species.

Other wildlife recorded on the reserve include: brown hare, kingfisher, white-clawed crayfish and five species of bat including Daubenton's and brown long-eared.

As part of a planning agreement BBOWT has been granted a fifty-year lease and given £230,000 from the developer of the new Richmond Care Village at Letcombe Regis to manage the site as a nature reserve.

Chris Hannington, Head of Conservation and Education for BBOWT in Oxfordshire, says: "The crystal clear waters of chalk streams are an iconic feature of our English landscape. By securing a lease for a nature reserve we have ensured that wildlife conservation will be a priority on this site."

There are only 161 chalk rivers and streams across the UK and nearly one third of the habitat has become degraded as a result of human activity.

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