A wildlife haven on the banks of the Droitwich Barge Canal has been decimated by a fire, believed to have been started deliberately yesterday afternoon.
The fire has destroyed 75% of the dedicated wildlife habitat of the Coney Meadow Reed Bed, home to a wide variety of birds, reptiles and mammals.
Especially destructive due to having been started in the middle of nesting season, it’s likely to have a devastating impact on some of Worcestershire’s rarest birds, including grasshopper warblers, water rails, reed buntings and cuckoos.
We established the site in 2008 as part of the restoration of the Droitwich canals, and it's a popular visitor attraction as well as one of Worcestershire’s most important wildlife reserves.
The reed beds provide a perfect habitat for species like grass snakes, slow worms and field voles, as well as supporting populations of otters, bats and more recently, a barn owl.
Mark Robinson, ecologist at the Canal & River Trust, said: “We’re all devastated that this has happened, Coney Meadow Reed Bed is one of the most important habitats for wildlife in Worcestershire, and now most of it has been destroyed.
"We won’t know what the impact will be on wildlife in the area as a whole until next year, but it’s safe to say that a mindless action by someone has wiped out a generation for most of the animals that call the reed beds home.”
We're appealing to anyone who has any information on the fire to contact the police.