CONTRACTORS and volunteers have been working hard to restore a rare Wyre Forest habitat.

The work is taking place at The Devil’s Spittleful nature reserve between Stourport, Kidderminster and Bewdley.

The Worcestershire Wildlife Trust’s reserve forms part of the largest area of heathland in the county, a habitat that has declined by about 98% in the last 200 years.

Andy Harris, Conservation Officer for the reserve said: “The Devil’s Spittleful is a fabulous refuge for wildlife as well as being a beautiful place for people to walk through.

“The nature of this heathland, however, is that it will revert to scrubby woodland and we risk losing the open areas that are so important for wildlife like lizards and many species of bees.

“Each year our volunteers do a great job of managing small areas but we also employ contractors each year to do some of the bigger work.

Heathland wildlife such as common lizards and stonechats are declining in numbers, and the work is hoped to help restore their populations.

Andy added:“This is such a beautiful place to be – in the summer it’s alive with butterflies, bees and other insects that support a wealth of birds, bats and other wildlife.

“It would be fantastic if, eventually, we could attract birds such as nightjar and woodlark back to the reserve to breed.”

The Devil’s Spittleful is so-called because folklore states that the Devil struck his spade into the ground there.

Anyone wishing to make a difference for wildlife at this peaceful site can join the volunteer group that meets once a month to undertake general maintenance tasks.

No previous experience or skills are necessary and the group meets on the third Saturday of every month between 9am and 1pm.