History of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust

Credit Richard Bailey 

The History of the Trust

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 23,000 members and protect over 65 nature reserves across Coventry, Warwickshire and Solihull with the support and involvement of hundred of regular volunteers.

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.
  • 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.
  • 1988 - Andy Tasker becomes the Trust’s first paid Director.
  • 1989 - The Trust, with the support of local residents, successfully oppose 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.
  • 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 - 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’
  • 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