Wildfowling in Wales receives boost from the BASC Wildlife Fund

The BASC Wildlife Fund has awarded its first loan in Wales to the Wentloog Wildfowling and Conservation Association.

The loan, totalling £35,000, will be used by the Wentloog Wildfowling and Conservation Association (WWCA) to purchase 932 acres of foreshore in Wentloog, a rural community in the southwest of the city of Newport.

Wentloog’s foreshore comprises intertidal flats which fall within the Severn Estuary protected network – an area of vital importance to the wetland and migratory wildfowl in the region. The Gwent Wildlife Trust is a neighbouring landowner.

With the support of BASC and the BWF, the WWCA will commence a habitat management plan for the site, which will give them a strong voice and, as the owner of the land, a mandate to protect and preserve the habitat.

The secretary of the WWCA, Mat Holloway, and members of the club will be joining BASC representatives and politicians at the Senedd tomorrow, Tuesday 6 February, for an event to highlight the BWF in Wales. The event is being sponsored by James Evans MS and Llyr Gruffydd MS.

Commenting on the BWF loan award, Caroline Bedell, BASC’s executive director of conservation, said: “Mat and his team of dedicated wildfowlers are the epitome of what we like to call the original conservationists – rural community members who take pride in the conservation and curation of their local environments.

“We’re grateful to our members whose donations allow us to continue to support projects which strengthen the ties between shooting and conservation.”

Dr Mat Holloway, secretary of the WWCA said: “In the 43 years since the Wentloog Wildfowling and Conservation Association was formed, one of our key objectives has been to secure the sporting rights over our marsh – not just for the sake of the shooting, but to allow us to have a say in the management and control of the ground for the benefit of this unique and very special habitat and its wildlife.

“We’re very grateful to the BWF for its support and the loan which enabled us to buy outright over 900 acres of tidal mudflats, thus securing our sport and its magical environment for the foreseeable future, and generations to come.

“This land purchase was a deeply important and emotionally charged project for our club. Some of our key members have fought for the club, and our right to continue what we do in a responsible and sustainable way, for over 40 years. Many of this purchase project’s core team will be in their eighties when this loan is paid off and not likely to be very active wildfowlers. This acquisition is therefore for the benefit of those who come after us, our sons and daughters and their children.”

About the BASC Wildlife Fund

The BASC Wildlife Fund offers financial support to shoots, clubs and syndicates for hands-on conservation initiatives and sustainable land management. Thanks to donations from BASC members, the BWF can provide loans for land purchase and and grants conservation projects in the UK. The BWF will also support international projects where these relate to UK migratory species.

Since January 2020, the BWF has awarded £467,000 in grants for a range of projects.

For more information on the BWF – whether you would like to make a donation or speak to us about a project – visit the website here.