HAMPSHIRE Wildlife Trust has celebrated its purchase of a small wildlife haven in the Meon Valley.

The trust has taken over St Clair’s Meadow, near Soberton, thanks to the support of the Pig Shed Trust, the local community and a £300,000 grant from Biffa Award.

Wildlife like kingfisher, trout and a wealth of dragonflies and damselflies frequent the site, and it’s also been one of the release sites for a water vole reintroduction project on the River Meon.

The water vole is Britain’s fastest declining mammal due to habitat loss, fragmentation and predation by American mink. Monitoring of the sites involved has demonstrated that water voles are now breeding in this area.

Trust plans for the site include improving the habitat for a wide range of species, including the water vole.

The wet meadows will see a re-introduction of cattle grazing and will be managed for the flora and wetland birds that make this area special. St Clair’s has always been at the heart of the local community and the Wildlife Trust looks forward to working with local people as plans develop.

Attending the event was George Hollingbery, the local MP and a keen fly fisherman.