SOMERSET Wildlife Trust has closed its Westhay and Catcott nature reserves - but is calling on people to help wildlife closer to home.

A statement issued by Somerset Wildlife Trust CEO Georgina Stokes on Friday, March 27, states that the decision has been taken in light on the government guidelines in relation to the coronavirus.

Mrs Stokes said: "Ensuring our members, supporters and visitors to our nature reserves stay safe is extremely important to us, so it was with regret that, following the latest guidelines from the government we have taken the decision to entirely close our Westhay and Catcott reserves.

Somerset County Gazette:

"Due to their popularity, particularly at this time of year, they are more likely to bring a larger number of pairs or small groups together - which is contrary to the social distancing advice given by the government."

The other Somerset Wildlife Trust reserves will remain open for the time being, but only for those local to them and provided social distancing advice is adhered to.

Mrs Stokes added: "Our reserves staff are working within the new guidelines and will continue to care for these special places as best they can.

"I realise that for many of you, getting out into the natural world is an important part of your life, and these closures will be of great disappointment, but it is vital that the Trust plays its part in keeping members of the public safe and protecting our NHS. Thank you for your understanding."

However Somerset Wildlife Trust is encouraging residents to take advantage of the opportunity to look after wildlife in their gardens.

Mrs Stokes continued: "Over the coming weeks we're going to increase the range of resources on our website to give you some inspiration and ideas for what you can do at home to support wildlife in your own garden or outdoor space, large or small.

"We're including indoor and outdoor activities, crafty things to do to keep the kids entertained, guides to building wildlife homes and putting wildlife features into your gardens."

The Trust also has a social media campaign called #wildlifewindow, where people can post pictures of wildlife they have seen in their gardens.

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