History

History of the Trust

Credit Richard Bailey 

Where it all began

The first trust to include our area was set up in 1957. It was called the 'West Midlands Trust for Nature Conservation Ltd', and covered the whole of Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Birmingham and the Black Country. Due to the difficulty managing such a large area, Worcestershire broke away to form a separate charity; closely followed in 1969 by Staffordshire. The Warwickshire Nature Conservation Trust or 'Warnact' was formed in 1970 to cover the remaining areas. Members in Birmingham & the Black Country formed the 'Urban Wildlife Trust' in 1980, now the Birmingham & Black Country Wildlife Trust.

The 'Warnact' name was changed to Warwickshire Wildlife Trust in 1990. We now have 24,000 members and protect over 65 nature reserves across Coventry, Warwickshire and Solihull with the vital support and involvement of hundreds of regular volunteers.

No one will protect what they don't care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced.
Sir David Attenborough

Timeline of our history

  • 1956 - The West Midlands Trust for Nature Conservation is formed by eight members united in a common aim to protect the wildlife of Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Staffordshire.
     
  • 1957 - By the end of the first year, balance sheets record that the company had a total value of £66 2s 6d.
     
  • 1970 - Warwickshire, now independent, becomes Warwickshire Nature Conservation Trust (Warnact), with 200 members and manages two wetland nature reserves, Alvecote Pools and Temple Balsall. Warnact also served as a play on words in that we would warn of threats to the environment and act to remedy those threats. 
     
  • 1974 - An appeal is launched and with the help of Christopher Cadbury the first freehold nature reserve, Clowes Wood, is purchased for £100,000. First logo designed by Roger Smith.
     
  • 1975 - The finest orchid-rich grassland in Warwickshire, Draycote Meadows, is acquired.
     
  • 1978 - Caroline Pike is the first Conservation Officer to be appointed, later replaced by Margaret Wood in 1980. Membership reaches 2,000.
     
  • 1982 - Andy Tasker becomes the Trust’s youngest Chair of Council.
     
  • 1983 - David Attenborough opens our charity shop in Warwick 
     
  • 1988 - After 7 years as (volunteer) chairman Andy Tasker becomes the Trust’s first paid Director. 
     
  • 1989 - The Trust, with the support of local residents, successfully opposes construction of a warehouse facility on what is now Claybrooks Marsh SSSI. Commercial subsidiary Warwickshire Wildlife Trading LTD is set up to train in practical landscaping and ecological consultancy.
     
  • 1990 - Warnact officially becomes Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.
     
  • 1992 - Brandon Marsh Nature Centre, Coventry is opened by Sir David Attenborough.
     
  • 1997 - Our education provision had been slowly increasing and we needed a classroom, by late 1997 we were able to start work on it. 
     
  • 1998 - Visitor and Education Centre is opened at Brandon Marsh. Membership reaches 7,000. 
                                                                            
  • 2002 - The Parkridge Centre, Solihull is opened by Professor David Bellamy. Membership reaches 16,000.
     
  • 2006 - Middlemarch Environmental, now one of the UK’s leading independent ecological consultancies, reaches a turnover of nearly £2 million.
     
  • 2010 - £107,493 received from the Wren Biodiversity Action Fund to enhance 18 hectares of reedbed at Brandon Marsh
     
  • 2011 - Membership reaches 23,300. 4,109 children visit Brandon Marsh and 27,983 visitors to Brandon Marsh
     
  • 2012 - Andy Tasker died in 2012 but his legacy lives on at Tasker's Meadow, a stunning wildflower meadow reserve named in his memory.
     
  • 2012 - 20,000 reed stems planted by the Brandon Marsh Voluntary Conservation Team at Brandon Marsh
     
  • 2013 - Tame Valley Wetlands Living Landscape scheme launches with the vision of ‘creating a wetland landscape, rich in wildlife and accessible to all’
     
  • 2013 -  Our Help for Hedgehogs campaign was launched that aimed to stop the free-fall decline of hedgehogs in our region and raise awareness of how we can all help them return to our gardens and the countryside.
     
  • 2016 - We announce the purchase of a new nature reserve, Bubbenhall Wood and Meadow
     
  • 2017 - 19 pairs of endangered hazel dormice released in a secret woodland location in Warwickshire as part of our Dunsmore Living Landscape Scheme which also launched this year.
     
  • 2017 - Our Wild Wellbeing project (based on principles of eco-therapy) called The Environment and Me is launched in partnership with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, Coventry and Warwickshire Mind, and Coventry City Council. 
     
  • 2019 - Land opposite Brandon Marsh now under own management and named Brandon Reach to link it to Brandon Marsh and to demonstrate its reach into the wider landscape. The new addition increases our footprint in this area to 178 hectares - bigger than London's Hyde Park!
     
  • 2019 - Brandon Marsh Conservation Volunteers received the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. The QAVS is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work done in their own communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of The Queen's coronation and is the MBE for volunteer groups.
  • 2020 - The Trust celebrates 50 years of protecting wildlife and wild places in Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull with the help of its incredible members, volunteers, staff and visitors! You can read more about this amazing milestone here.