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New base pledge at historic Wrens Nest

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Visitors to a world famous greenspace in Dudley are in line for a boost after the leader of the council confirmed funding would be found for a new wardens base.

Dudley Council leader, Councillor Patrick Harley, has made a personal commitment to find the money for the new base at Wren’s Nest National Nature Reserve.

Councillor Karen Shakespeare (front left), cabinet member for parks and open spaces at Dudley Council, John Chapple (front centre), chairman of the Friends of Wrens Nest, and Councillor Patrick Harley (front right) give a thumbs up to the new base with wardens and volunteers at the nature reserve

The nature reserve is renowned globally for its geological importance and is visited by scientists from all over the world. The site is home to the ‘Dudley Bug’ fossilised remains of a sea creature that lived over 400 million years ago and which is only found in Dudley.

The current wardens base makes use of two ageing semi-detached houses on the site, which need repair and investment.

Repeated attempts to find funding to build a new base have failed. Councillor Harley has agreed to fund a new wardens base on the site, which follows a similar agreement for a new base at Saltwells Nature Reserve, which got the greenlight earlier this year.

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of the council, said:

Wrens Nest National Nature Reserve is a fantastic asset for Dudley and is recognised internationally for its geology and natural beauty.
We want to ensure that we act as a proper custodian for the reserve and providing a new base for our wardens and a place where visitors can see our fantastic array of fossils is evidence of our commitment.

Councillor Karen Shakespeare, cabinet member responsible for parks and open spaces, added:

Our parks, nature reserves and green spaces have won many awards. They are recognised locally and nationally and give great enjoyment both locally and also to visitors to our borough.
I was delighted that the Leader of the Council has agreed to invest in Wrens Nest which has been nationally recognised since 1956.
I know the Friends groups, volunteers and countryside services will also be delighted with this news as they work so hard to ensure we retain something very special not just for us but for future generations to enjoy.
The investments in Wrens Nest and Saltwells will also ensure we have a team of expert staff on hand to maintain and enhance these open spaces further.

The leader of the council and Cabinet Member met with the Friends of Wren’s Nest National Nature Reserve to tell them the good news.

John Chapple, chair of the Friends of Wrens Nest added:

This is fantastic news and we look forward to working with the council on the process of designing a new base where people from Dudley and much further afield can enjoy this amazing place on our doorstep.

Council officers are due to start work on developing designs for the new base, working closely with the Friends Group. It is hoped the new base will be open in 2021.

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