A HAVEN for wildlife has been completed in a quiet corner of the Lyth Valley as part of the Morecambe Bay Nature Improvement Area.

Park End Moss, near Brigsteer, sees 94-acres of formerly poor agricultural land now being used to provide a ‘service station’ for migrating birds.

It is hoped that it will also become a place for otters and dragonflies to thrive and, in time, a place for bitterns, one of England’s rarest species, to breed.

The site is owned and managed by the National Trust, which has collaborated with local farmers, David and Rob Willison, whose Galloway cows will graze the land.

Reed bed will provide new habitat, while the wet grassland provide a wildlife haven and a continuing grazing resource for the farm.

To mark the site’s completion, 24 of David and Rob’s cows were released onto the site, to begin grazing.

Grazing is essential because it prevents the flowers and bird habitats from becoming swamped with overgrown coarse vegetation.

A new bird hide will be installed in spring 2015 and public access to the site will be restricted until this is complete.

Peter Nixon, the National Trust's Director of Land, Landscape & Nature, officially declared the site open. He was joined by Lucy Barron, manager of the Arnside & Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Chris Kaighin, delivery manager for Natural England in Cumbria.

"This is a great project which addresses many of the challenges facing nature as habitats have become increasingly fragmented over recent decades," said Mr Nixon. "It also will help local people to enjoy and appreciate nature and the countryside through their hands on involvement and sharing in the harvest. “

Mr Willison added: “We work the farm next door and run a small wetland scheme there, which works well for us. It was a natural step for us to take on the management of the Park End Moss, which adds another dimension to our farm business. And the cows are happy enough down there amongst the birds, grasses and reeds.”

Ms Barron said: "Wildlife is already flocking to the newly created habitat, helping to make this part of Morecambe Bay a wonderful place to visit.”

Park End Moss sits on the western edge of the Sizergh estate and as well as the wetland, the trust aims to renovate the existing Lyth Valley apple and damson orchard, in partnership with the Helsington Community Land Trust.

The project has been financed by an Environmental Stewardship Scheme grant from Natural England worth £420,000 over ten years.