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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 July 2007, 07:22 GMT 08:22 UK
River 'beach' to attract visitors
River Ray: Photo by Jo Sayers, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust
A gravelled beach will allow visitors to sit and enjoy the waterfowl
A beach is being created on a Wiltshire nature reserve to encourage more people to enjoy wildlife.

A gravelled bend is being put into a stretch of the River Ray at Swindon, where visitors can sit and watch a growing population of waterfowl.

Surfaced footpaths are also being installed for disabled access.

More pools are being created on the floodplain and modifications are being made to the weir to allow fish to pass easily up or down stream.

Community focus

Jo Sayers from the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust said: "At the moment, in some places the river is so overgrown that people can't even see it.

"This big sweeping bend will provide a shallow, graded gravel beach which will provide a community focus in the area where people can come and enjoy the river, sit and contemplate, or dip their dogs."

The beach is the latest phase in a major project to turn the River Ray into a haven for wildlife.

Previous work has attracted a wide variety of waterfowl to the area, said Ms Sayers.

"I've seen snipe, teal, a pair of little egrets, green sandpipers and lots of herons," she said.

"When the water spills out of the river into the plain in the winter, I've practically stepped on mallards and moorhens as I've walked through the grass."

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