About the Trust
The Trust was formed in 1992 to protect Conygre Mead and other areas of land within the river valleys surrounding Malmesbury.
The word “Conygre” means “where rabbits live”. Before the Reformation the monks at the Abbey used this area as a food source, principally rabbits, whilst ponds immediately adjacent to the river held fish. In the mid nineteenth century the railway line was built crossing Conygre Mead. The line was closed in 1962. The site was then used as a rubbish dump until 1972 when the land was sold with outline planning permission to a private owner. Fortunately the site was not developed and it was bought by the Trust in 1992 for £25,000. Contributions towards the purchase came from Malmesbury Carnival Committee, the Civic Trust, North Wiltshire District Council, and from the Trust’s own members.
It has since flourished and now provides a peaceful haven of some 2.58 hectares for hundreds of different wildlife species and flora. The Trust was given the land at Wynyard Mill at Baskerville in 2002. This consists of about 0.5 hectares overlooking the town.
The Trust holds Schools Weeks each summer which enable young children from the locality to sample the delights of Conygre Mead for a couple of hours and learn about its flora and fauna. This includes various activities from bark rubbing to identifying creatures from the pond and the river. Events are organised by volunteers and organisations such as Wessex Water. Other events such as Moth and Bat Evenings take place in the summer and these are enjoyed by children and adults alike. Just as popular are the Mini Bug Hunts which are held as a daytime activity for young families.
Nature Reserve Status
Conygre Mead was granted official status as a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) in 2005 by North Wiltshire District Council and English Nature (now known as Natural England).
This means the Nature Reserve is included in an official listing by English Nature which could attract more visitors to Conygre Mead and to Malmesbury. It also gives the Trust access to grants in order to continue its work.