Last month we reported that the Ash Link Nature Reserve and Splash Meadow in Shepperton had been awarded a gold at the South & South East in Bloom. This is recognition for the immense hard work that a group of volunteers has put in to developing this site in the past 11 years.

We went along to see the site, our first visit in two years, and it is really obvious how much has been done. “This is a momentous occasion for us” said Peter Routley, chairman of the Spelthorne Natural History Society, pictured right below with some of the team.

The site at the end of Nutty Lane has been cleared, paths laid, nature boards erected, multiple layered hedges laid to deaden some of the noise from the adjacent M3 (inevitable at this site). During the development, the emphasis is on keeping the area wild to encourage wildlife. During one night time survey 80 varieties of moth were recorded. Mammals also come visiting. Foxes, wood mice, hedgehogs, shrews and voles have all been recorded. The place is full of birdsong and there is even a variety of orchid. The broadleaved helleborine had just finished flowering when I visited.

To one side the boundary looks over a former gravel pit, now a lake, where a screen has been erected to allow you to view waterfowl. This is a veritable oasis in the middle of an area bordered by the motorway and with the monstrous Eco Park just down the road.

The Ash Link Nature Reserve is always open to the public and yes, you can walk with your dog (do please clear up after them though). Visit during the year and you will see it waking up after winter, flourishing with Spring flowers and changing throughout the year. Work has all been done by volunteers and it depends on grants to get any funds necessary.

Grants have come from various sources; the Heathrow Community Fund, National Lottery, Veolia, Tesco’s bags to name a few. Peter Routley is justifiably proud of all the hard work. What a lovely achievement to make such a wild space available to the public to enjoy nature. If you have not visited, you can park at the end of Nutty Lane or Splash Meadow and go and enjoy.