Since Mersehead Farm was acquired by RSPB in late 1993 it has been transformed from a typical mixed arable and livestock farm to a showcase nature reserve with 27,000 visitors a year.
A very important - and growing - feature of Mersehead is its education service to local schools, and the Sulwath grant will enable us to convert the old farmhouse into a purpose-built Education & Training Centre. The grant will also enable us to improve the various wildlife habitats on the reserve. We will ensure the grass fields used by the thousands of wintering barnacle geese are maintained in good condition. Wetland areas will be extended for the benefit of ducks and wading birds.
On some of the arable fields we will sow "wild bird cover", special seed mixes which will provide food for our ever-increasing winter flocks of seed-eating finches, larks, sparrows and buntings and nesting places for some of them the following spring.
We will plant trees and hedges around the wild bird cover areas and grow and plant out more reeds to extend the new reed bed. The Sulwath Connections grant will allow biodiversity and wildlife numbers to increase, maintaining the international, national, regional and local importance of one of the best wildlife sites on the Solway.