SOMERSET Wildlife Trust has launched a £500,000 appeal to mark its 50th anniversary this year.

The cash will be used for its conservation work such as coppicing woodlands to support dormice, creating a wetland for bittern and grazing grasslands for green winged orchids.

It is also staging a programme of community events, activities and fundraising to mark its golden anniversary under the banner ‘Love Somerset, Love Nature’.

And it is running four campaigns to celebrate some of the county’s most treasured habitats and species – love woodlands, love meadows, love seas and love wetlands.

SWT chief executive Simon Nash said: “As custodian of more than 1,700 hectares of vital wildlife habitat, we’re leading the way in local conservation.

“In our anniversary year we want to do more to protect the things that local people love most about Somerset.

“Our natural environment inspires and provides for us all so we’re asking individuals and community groups who love nature to join us and do more for wildlife this year.”

People and groups who want to support the £½milliojn fundraising drive can download a ’50 ways to raise £50’ fundraising pack from or call 01823-652400 for a hard copy.

The love woodland campaign kicks off at Quants Nature Reserve, near Churchstanton, on April 5, when there will be egg hunting, following the Easter bunnies footsteps, wild walks, nature trails, craft and bush craft activities.

FACTFILE: *The trust was formed in 1964 under the name The Somerset Trust for Nature Conservation, with 15 people at the inaugural meeting each putting a £1 note towards the initial capital.

*Somerset Wildlife Trust today manages 72 nature reserves and provides wildlife-friendly and management advice.

*It is one of 47 trusts in the UK which together make up the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts.

*Somerset is home to two globally threatened species – freshwater crayfish and eel – and 88 of the UK’s threatened species.