A wildlife refuge turned nature reserve
The Marl Allotment in Whixall was once a fly spill hotspot, but the Parish Council and a team of volunteers worked to clean up the area and transform it into a popular open public space and recognized wildlife site.
The Shropshire Council has now been asked to delegate responsibility to the Parish Council for designating it as a Local Nature Reserve (LNR).
The Marlot, as it is also called, is a six-acre common area between Whixall Moss and the Canal, and is the seventh site in the county to be nominated for designation since last October.
The Shropshire Council says the status will raise the profile of the site, open up funding opportunities for other conservation work, recognize its value to both local people and wildlife, and provide additional protection from development.
The council has the legal power to dedicate new NRLs, as long as the proposed area meets certain requirements and belongs to the authority.
As he does not own the land, his cabinet must delegate the power to the parish council to make the designation.
A report by Clare Featherstone, head of culture, recreation and tourism at the Shropshire Council, states: “Environmental designation raises the profile of the public and can increase visitor use as well as health and welfare benefits. to be that it provides.
“The LNR designations also provide some protection for the nature conservation and recreational interest of the site.”
If the cabinet agrees, the parish council should take the formalities with Natural England.
Ms Featherstone says Natural England has made a site visit and supports the designation.
The report states that the Marlot survived intact as common land at a time when the majority of England was privately owned and was protected by the Common Registration Act of 1965 which placed the remaining common land in the ownership of local authorities.
It has been managed by the parish council since 1975.
The report says: “Until World War II, it was used for coarse grazing by cattle and to dig up the agricultural valuable mineral resource of marl, a crumbly limestone clay that was believed to have been left behind by the retreating glaciers of the ice age.
“Marl was applied as a fertilizer to poor soil on the edge of Whixall Moss. Clay may also have been used to line the canal, which may explain why there are so many ponds in the town.
After the marl ceased to be used as a fertilizer, the communal land became “overgrown” and “neglected”, and was used as a dumping ground for scrap metal, tires and garbage.
The report states: ‘Countryside Stewardship funding after 2000 enabled Natural England staff and the parish council to undertake clearing work to remove dumped waste, manage trees and undergrowth, clear trails. and provide picnic tables.
“In addition, the Whixall Mosses circular trails have been established and the Marl Allotment has been incorporated as a valuable part of these routes.
“In 2006, the Whixall Environmental Group was formed to continue work and manage the site for the enhancement of biodiversity and the enjoyment of the local community.
Cabinet will discuss the report at a meeting on Monday, June 7.