Put to Good Use
If, like me, you mourn the sad loss of former RAF bases you will be pleased to know that at least one is being put to good use. The Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust recently concluded the final phase of its purchase of RAF Woodhall Spa Airfield, and will now commence a project for developing the airfield into a picturesque nature reserve, rich with wildlife.
Many of you will know that RAF Woodhall Spa saw many brave squadrons defend Britain during World War 2, including the famous 617 ‘Dambusters’ Squadron, which flew the Avro Lancaster bomber. In recent years, it has been quarried for sand and gravel, but now as a nature reserve Woodhall Spa Airfield will become a haven for wildlife and a monument to our aviation heritage.
Over time the nature reserve will attract wildlife and the open skies will see birds of prey soaring where military aircraft once flew. Woodlark, skylark and meadow pipit have already expanded their range from the neighbouring nature reserves. Grey partridge, lapwing, turtle dove, cuckoo, song thrush, starling, tree sparrow, linnet and yellowhammer have bred annually in recent years. Adder, grass snake, common lizard, slow worm, common frog, common toad and smooth newt have all now been recorded from the land already restored by the Trust adjacent to Kirkby Moor.
The purchase of this former airfield is part of the Wildlife Trusts aspiration to create a Living Landscape of larger, connected wildlife sites with improved access for people. It is adjacent to existing nature reserves from which wildlife is already expanding.
The creation of a new nature reserve is seen as a fitting tribute to the many servicemen and women who gave their lives to preserve and protect our ‘green and pleasant land’. But don’t make plans to visit just yet, Woodhall Spa Airfield will be closed for the foreseeable future as machinery from the quarry is removed and development work begins to create the new nature reserve. I will monitor progress and keep you posted.