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Fears over river islands prompt council action





Warnings that two islands on the River Avon could disappear have prompted Stratford District Council to take action.

Cox’s Island in Stratford-upon-Avon. Photo: Mark Williamson C10/2/21/2652. (44542775)
Cox’s Island in Stratford-upon-Avon. Photo: Mark Williamson C10/2/21/2652. (44542775)

Last week former Stratford mayor Cyril Bennis drew attention to the condition of Cox’s Island and Willow Island, the two small islands which sit either side of the Tramway Bridge.

Mr Bennis, who cares for swans on the river, said that the islands, which have been part of the river landscape for many years had been neglected and that excessive erosion had taken place.

Swan warden Cyril Bennis is very concerned about the future of Cox’s Island in Stratford-upon-Avon. . Photo: Mark Williamson C10/2/21/2675. (44542778)
Swan warden Cyril Bennis is very concerned about the future of Cox’s Island in Stratford-upon-Avon. . Photo: Mark Williamson C10/2/21/2675. (44542778)

Mr Bennis said: “In 1991 we managed to get SDC to designate the islands as a nature reserves for swans, but sadly over 20 years the island has eroded and been neglected. It is a lovely area for nature right in the heart of our community but we need to give the animals a helping hand, swans need preening space and you can see that this area has been eroded right back over the years.

“We’re very fortunate to have a space like this right in the middle of Stratford but it needs better management. It’s always a balance with things like this, but we need to act to make sure it remains for future generations.”

Mr Bennis also raised concerns about the lack of ground covering vegetation on the islands and the stability of trees, whose roots have become exposed by erosion.

When approached by the Herald, Stratford District Council, agreed to look into what could be done.

A spokesperson for Stratford District Council, said: “Stratford-on-Avon District Council is responsible for the ongoing management of Cox’s Island and Willow Island on the River Avon. We are currently looking at ways to improve the biodiversity and conservation of the two islands, both of which provide an essential haven for river wildlife.”



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