Work to enhance Salcombe’s Hangar Marsh nature reserve has been completed ahead of its partial reopening this month, thanks to help from local volunteers.

The small wetland reserve, which extends to almost a hectare behind North Sands beach and car park, includes reed-beds, wildlife habitats and a sizeable pond, which has now been restored.

Woody leaky dams have also been created along the stream to help manage water levels in the wetland. In addition, a replacement section of boardwalk has been built, leading to a new bird hide next to the pond. Interpretation boards giving information about the reserve are also being updated and installed.

South Hams District Council (SHDC), which owns and manages the reserve, said the work was evidence of its “ongoing commitment to address biodiversity loss across the District”.

The reserve secured funds in 2023, amounting to £20,000 from Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL). The funding, administered by South Devon National Landscapes, was aimed at restoring and enhancing the wetland.

Local social enterprise ParkLife South West, which supports a volunteer environmental programme, was involved in managing the restoration of the site, and young volunteers from Dartington-based Lifeworks and students from Ivybridge Community College also worked for two weeks at the site to help create the woody dams.

ParkLife Director Keith Rennells appealed to the public to help manage and maintain the reserve, and suggested joining projects such as cutting and raking the reed-beds.

Cllr John McKay, SHDC’s executive member for climate change and biodiversity, said the conservation work would help to increase biodiversity.

“Although this is only a small site, wetland habitats are very important, supporting a wide range of specialist wildlife species. These reed bed sites lock-in large amounts of carbon, helping to reduce the impact of climate change,” he said, adding that the bird hide would provide “an excellent opportunity to enjoy wetland wildlife up close”.

A short section of boardwalk leading to the pond and hide will be open to the public, although beyond that the wetland reserve will not be accessible, SHDC said.

For more information about volunteering at Hangar Marsh, or educational visits, contact the team at [email protected]