Emma Marsh, RSPB Director England, welcomes the RSPB taking on management of a new site in Staffordshire ... 

I'm delighted to say that the RSPB have taken over the management of Consall Nature Park from Staffordshire County Council this month. Since the mid-1980s the RSPB has owned and managed RSPB Churnet Valley reserve, 100 hectares of broadleaved woodland and grassland adjacent to Consall Nature Park. This reserve extension will allow the RSPB to directly manage more land for the benefit of wildlife and people in the spectacular Churnet Valley.

We'll be managing Consall Woods on a 100-year lease for the benefit of visitors, woodland birds such as pied flycatcher, redstart, lesser spotted woodpecker and spotted flycatcher and other wildlife. The leasing of Consall Nature Park is contributing to our reserves priorities and will secure a better future and management of the Site of Special Scientific Interest in the Churnet Valley. This acquisition on a long lease will take our reserve size from 200 to 300 hectares giving us the opportunity to broaden our impact for woodland wildlife and for visitors to the reserve.

Visitors can access the site 365 days a year, there are no current plans for charging for entry or parking, but the RSPB will be asking for donations to help run the reserve. There are no plans at the moment to re-open the visitor centre, but we are hopeful to find a use for the building in the future depending on available resources. The Visitor centre will still be available for use by the local community for example Consall parish council meetings. We are asking all visitors to keep their dogs on a lead at all times to protect the sensitive wildlife.

I would like to thank Staffordshire County Council and the staff involved with Consall Nature Park for their help and support over the years. In a future blog, I'm looking forward to our site team telling us what a "day in the life" of the new reserve is like!