VOLUNTEERS have helped create a wildlife haven in Slaithwaite.

Villagers joined River Colne project officer Mick Smith, from the Colne Valley Trust, this week to make a refuge for birds, bugs, butterflies and bees near the CVT's offices at Canalside.

It is one of Mick's first projects in his new job, which he took on in February.

He aims to use his zoology degree and countryside ranger experience to enhance the riverside in the Colne Valley and involve the community in conservation.

The wildlife garden is not large, but there is a pathway leading through it to the canal. Mick hopes it will prove an attractive focal point.

A small wildflower meadow has been created, featuring plants like corncockle, corn poppy and field scabious.

This habitat is becoming rarer because of farming practices.

The garden has also been planted with berry-bearing plants for birds and nectar-rich flowers for butterflies and other insects.

A habitat log pile has also been included in the area to benefit bugs and other creepy crawlies and Mick has made bird boxes for nearby trees.

The work has been made possible thanks to the help of volunteers and donations from local and national organisations.

Plants were donated by S Lockwood & Sons garden centre in Fenay Bridge, a bird table was given by Colne Valley Garden Centre at Milnsbridge, bird seed came from George Smith Pet Products and wildflower seeds were donated by Landlife National Wildflower Centre in Liverpool and Sutton Seeds in Devon.

Mick said:

"A garden with great wildlife value doesn't need to be a untidy waste ground.

"During the summer it will be a riot of colour and life to be enjoyed by local people and wildlife."

The garden will be at its best through August and September.

Jean Margetts, a member of the CVT's River Project Management Group, said:

"The area has been neglected for some time. It will be a welcome splash of colour for the summer."