Hardworking volunteers are hoping to recruit more helping hands to safeguard a popular wildlife haven in Chippenham.

The Baydons Meadow Wildlife Group maintains and protects the field beside the River Avon, just a short walk from the town centre. Last year, volunteers took part in hedge-laying, hay-raking, coppicing, water-monitoring, mowing and weeding, as well as hosting visits. They also planted almost 600 plants and bulbs including bluebells and wild daffodils. However, the group is keen to attract more volunteers to their monthly work parties.

BMWG chairman Derek Walter said: “We had another very successful year with lots of achievements, including being shortlisted in the conservation category of the prestigious Wiltshire Life Awards and installing an eye-catching new information board funded by the Chippenham Borough Lands Charity."

He added: “We were also able to carry out a great deal of clearing and planting across the meadow, despite the hot and dry summer.

“However, we know that we could achieve so much more if we had just a few extra volunteers to help us each month.”

Derek, a 36-year-old environmental manager, joined the group alongside his wife Louise, a 34-year-old teacher, shortly after moving to the area in 2014. The group has around 20 volunteers aged from their 20s to their 70s.

Derek said: “We’ve made many new friends since joining the group, as well as learning so much more about conservation and wildlife.

“It’s a great way to meet new people and learn new skills while also enjoying plenty of fresh air and exercise.”

The Baydons Meadow Wildlife Group normally meets on the first Sunday morning of the month. Visit www.baydonsmeadow.org.uk.