A BID to transform an important area of natural wetland at Pershore has received an early Christmas present with a cash boost of more than £220,000.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) this week announced a grant of £229,500 for Wychavon District Council’s project Avon Meadows Pershore – Wetlands for All. Over the next three years the council will improve access to the 24-hectare area of floodplain meadows and wetland between the river Avon and Pershore.

Although the land is not now designated for its wildlife interest, the wetland habitat has started to attract a wide variety of water birds and is popular with local people. The grant will pay for a full-time learning and community officer who will organise volunteer training and activities.

A website will also be created, guided walks leaflets produced and information signs installed. The Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service will train a dozen volunteers to research the history of Pershore and produce a touring exhibition. Wychavon District Council will also work with Pershore Town Council and the Avon Meadows friends group to create a management plan for the site as well as improving access for families and disabled people.

Jim Burgin, heritage manager at Wychavon District Council, said “We are delighted at the news of this grant and excited by the prospect of being able to do so much more at the Avon Meadows, ensuring that this area can be used and enjoyed by many more people in the future.

“Our planned programme of improvements to the path network, information and interpretation will benefit all ages from the youngest to the oldest in Pershore and provide for a range of activities that means that everyone will have a chance to get involved in creating a true community wetland.”