PEOPLE in Sedgemoor are joining all 335 parishes in Somerset to help save the barn owl population.

Nest boxes are being built by more than 500 volunteers to be installed in every parish under a three-year Somerset Wildlife Trust scheme, in collaboration with the Hawk and Owl Trust.

The initiative has also seen 1,000 children learn about barn owl conservation.

Jessy Emery, from the Trust, which has launched a £30,000 appeal to support the Somerset

Community Barn Owl Project, said: “Extreme winters in the 1940s and 1960s wiped out over half the UK population and barn owls have struggled to recover ever since. More than 80 per cent of barn owls now nest and raise their young in man-made boxes like the ones going up in every parish of Somerset.”

Recent records indicate there are currently just 200 breeding pairs in Somerset, and their population in the UK has dropped by as much as 70% since the 1930s.

The project aims to address the decline by providing nest sites and creating more rough, grassland hunting habitat.

In October the project celebrated its first breeding success with four baby owlets photographed on the sill of a nest box which went up at a Viridor landfill site, near Puriton, in Sedgemoor.

To donate to the appeal, go to or call 01823-652400.