A CHARITY is launching a crowdfunding appeal to improve Frome Banks Nature Reserve.

By a little-known path alongside the River Frome in central Stroud, you can spot Dippers, Grey Wagtails, Kingfishers and even, if you’re very fortunate, Otters.

The stretch of riverside is just a few minutes from busy central Stroud – but, in terms of the richness of wildlife here, it could be miles away.

However, this tranquil haven for nature has been affected by flooding and erosion; the river contains debris, which affects its flow; the footpath is slippery and dangerous; signage is poor; and the area is unsafe and not optimised for nature or for people.

Now, a local charity is launching a crowdfunding appeal to improve Frome Banks Nature Reserve, for people and for nature.

Stroud Valleys Project (SVP) has been selected from hundreds of good causes for its plan to enhance the area for wildlife and create a place where people can spend time in nature, on breaks from work or in leisure time.

SVP’s CEO Clare Mahdiyone said: “We’re so excited to have been selected by the Big Give for their Green Match Fund. We’re aiming to raise £2,500 in online donations in the week between Thursday 18 April and Thursday 25 April – and every donation will be doubled as part of the match funding.

“If people want to support SVP and the work we do in our district, every donation during this time will have double the impact.

“If we succeed in hitting our target, we’ll use the money to coppice the Hazel and Willow that we planted last year and build woody deflectors in the river to create areas of slower flowing water where fish can spawn; we’ll strengthen the pathway and put in sturdy boardwalk so the area’s accessible to more people; and we’ll plant and manage wildflowers and trees in a sympathetic way so wildlife thrives.

“We’ll also clear the path and overhanging vegetation and cut back trees to allow in light while still providing habitats for wildlife.”

The Green Match Fund is timed to include Earth Day, a worldwide day of action for the planet, which is on Monday 22 April. To donate to SVP’s Big Give Green Match Fund appeal from Thursdays 18 to 25 April, visit stroudvalleysproject.org.