A MUCH-loved nature spot has been saved from development after a successful public appeal. 

The Wiltshire Wildlife Trust has purchased Bay Meadows, near Marlborough, thanks to grants and public funding totalling almost £400,000. 

The meadows are situated on the northern side of Marlborough and backs onto Rabley wood and The Thorns. 

A consultation is now due to take place to explore how a haven of wildlife can be restored, with a survey currently open to the public on how they use the area.  

The trust is determined to protect its existence which makes it the perfect spot for unusual species like otters, kingfishers and wild brown trout.  

It is particularly significant as it is one of the last habitats of water voles, of which there has been a stark decrease in the UK over the years by 94% and are now extinct in surrounding counties.  

It also features 13 hectares of adjacent water meadows and 1.3km of the internationally rare chalk stream that is the River Og which gets its name from "Ogbourne"- this itself came from the original Occa's Stream.  

As its name implies it is an intermittent stream, often dry in the summer months. 

The plan to restore the river could take some time, according to Wiltshire Wildlife, but the funding has given them a major boost to set them in the right direction.  

A land purchase loan from the Esmee Fairburn Foundation is what temporarily secured the site while funding was raised for something more long-term.  

Now, after a successful public appeal, over £70,000 has been raised as well as a grant of £60,000 from the Hills Group and a further grant of £250,000 was awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Wilshire Wildlife Trust is now the proud owners of the unique space. 

A spokesperson for the trust said: “The amount of funding and community support has enabled us to start a programme of work to restore the floodplain meadow into a better habitat for species such as Water Vole and Wild Brown Trout, and for pollinators.  

“Alongside the enhancements will be a comprehensive community engagement programme and the creation of a nature area for the community and its visitors to enjoy.” 

Plans to enhance the site include sowing the meadows with seed and green hay to encourage wildflowers, butterflies and other insects, creating new wetland habitat for snipe and other wading birds, planting trees and enhancing the river for fish to spawn in.