A RURAL community's ambition to turn an area of derelict land into a haven for wildlife will become a reality after a four-year campaign.

Villagers in Shirenewton and Mynydd-bach are to benefit from a 10-acre wildlife area after the Shirenewton and Mynydd-bach Fields Association Ltd, a registered charity formed by a local wildlife enthusiast, successfully raised a total of £100,000.

"We have been trying to get hold of this land for about 4 years," said Mike Sayce, 60, former Vice-Chairman of Gwent Wildlife Trust and one of six trustees on the association.

Funding has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Biffawards (an environment fund managed by the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts) the community council, Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations and from donations.

"We bought the land at auction. It's an area of bio-diversity and offers the opportunity to be an educational resource for Shirenewton Primary School," added Mr Sayce, an expert ecologist and botanist.

Mrs Jayne Edwards, head teacher, at Shirenewton Primary School said: 'The land is right next to the school grounds so we can extend our already vibrant environmental curriculum to include visits to the site and projects based on it." "For example, in the spring an expert on dormice will show the children how we can help them build nests and do a survey on their numbers," said Mrs Edwards. "The next phase is to restore the area to a traditional hay meadow," said Mr Sayce.

"We are appealing to volunteers to join us on Saturday for the launch of the project and to get involved, whatever their skill is," added the retired forensic scientist.

The launch takes place at Shirenewton Recreation Hall on Saturday March 7 at 11am.

For more information, go to the website via the link on the right.