Shingay-cum-Wendy nature reserve opening hailed huge success

PUBLISHED: 06:58 18 June 2019

The Mill River Nature Reserve opened in Shingay-cum-Wendy for the Red Cross Open Gardens event. Picture: Gina Garfit

The Mill River Nature Reserve opened in Shingay-cum-Wendy for the Red Cross Open Gardens event. Picture: Gina Garfit

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Around 250 visitors headed to Shingay-cum-Wendy at the weekend for the Red Cross Open Gardens event, making it a "huge success".

The Mill River Nature Reserve opened in Shingay-cum-Wendy for the Red Cross Open Gardens event. Picture: Gina GarfitThe Mill River Nature Reserve opened in Shingay-cum-Wendy for the Red Cross Open Gardens event. Picture: Gina Garfit

Mill River Nature Reserve - which is accessed via Wendy village and is usually only open to the 55 households in the parish - saw hordes of well-informed naturalists and enthusiastic children go along to see what the reserve had to offer.

Philip Paxman, who instigated the reserve for the benefit of the parish in collaboration with Vine Farm Solar Park, said: "Mercifully, it was a huge success, the weather held up and everyone had a great time.

"The children weren't so keen on the botany hunt, but spent most of the afternoon racing over both sets of stepping stones and playing Pooh sticks. 
"Will Garfit's talk went down very well. He drew an interesting parallel between designing and managing a nature teserve, with running one's own garden at home, the same basic principles, soil type, sun and shade, suitable planting, a big nod to nature and the bonus of wildlife making itself at home, with a planting plan to attract butterflies and other insects, birds and mammals.

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"An added bonus was that the barn owl box immediately adjacent to the marquee has three young chicks in it, one of three barn owl nests in the reserve this year. His walk was well attended too and we were impressed how many visitors walked the entire reserve, about 8kms.

"As you can imagine, their tongues were out when they got back to base and devoured the splendid cream scones, home baked cakes and gallons of welcome tea put on by the Red Cross team, who sold out to their delight.

"It proved the highest grossing and best attended day of the Red Cross summer programme so far, with around 250 visitors, including lots of children and well-behaved dogs. And they contributed more than £1,700 for entry and cream teas.

"There was an enthusiastic vote of thanks to Will Garfit, Simon Saggers and Stuart Bennett - the partners of South Cambs Conservation Consultants - who designed, implemented and now manage the reserve."

The Mill River Nature Reserve opened in Shingay-cum-Wendy for the Red Cross Open Gardens event. Picture: Gina GarfitThe Mill River Nature Reserve opened in Shingay-cum-Wendy for the Red Cross Open Gardens event. Picture: Gina Garfit

Each year, the Red Cross hold open garden days at some of the finest private gardens throughout the country.

For more information and to view the full programme go to redcross.org.uk/get-involved/fundraising-and-events/open-gardens.

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