WORK has begun to transform a patch of land into a haven for local wildlife in Kingsclere.

A wildlife area is being created at Cottismore Park, Newbury Road, to help boost biodiversity and encourage insect and reptile species.

The project, led by community food growing project Growing2ogether, will include the laying of new paths suitable for wheelchair users and will also see fencing being installed.

Trees and wildflowers will be planted and insect hotels, bird boxes and bat boxes will be created.

The scheme will also include an outdoor classroom with benches which will be available for existing site users, local schools and groups and the general public to use and enjoy.

Charity Newbury Community Resource Centre Ltd runs Growing2ogether, at Cottismore Park, to support people with learning and physical disabilities and other disadvantages.

The project is being undertaken with the needs of disabled people in mind. The footpaths will be as level as possible and the plants and flowers will cater for all of the sensory requirements such as colour, perfume and tactility.

Chief executive Kelvin Hughes said: “It is great that work on this project is starting. As well as improving the environment, the work will benefit the local community in several ways, including education and rest and relaxation. We cannot wait to see it complete.

“We have consulted many people about what they want to see here and that has helped guide us. We have four months, weather permitting, to get the work done and we will have a lot of people working very hard on the site.”

The project, on which work is being carried out by the site’s staff and volunteers, is also being supported by Hampshire County Council’s Biodiver-sity information centre, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and Kingsclere Parish Council.

It is being funded with the help of The Veolia Environmental Trust, which donated £19,908 towards the scheme.

Paul Taylor, executive director of the trust, said: “Over the last five years, we have awarded £1,932,722 to community and environmental projects in Hampshire, and it is great to hear that this one is starting.

“The improvements will benefit the local community and wildlife in many ways and I look forward to hearing about its progress.”