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Plan to enhance nature reserve named after murder victim

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A memorial to Rebecca Middleton at the Rebecca Middleton Nature Reserve in Paget (Image from planning documents)

The Bermuda National Trust hopes to create a “stronghold” for endemic plants at a Paget nature reserve on the Railway Trail.

According to a conservation management plan submitted to the Department of Planning, only about a third of the plants at the Rebecca Middleton Nature Reserve are native or endemic, but the BNT hopes to bring that figure to 90 per cent.

“Once a native and endemic stronghold has been created and nurtured to maturity, invasive species are less able to take over,” the CMP writer said.

“Indigenous woodland is more biodiverse and better able to withstand hurricanes and cope with climate change.

“This CMP furthers the Bermuda National Trust’s mission to protect and promote Bermuda’s unique natural and cultural heritage for everyone, for ever.”

The Railway Trail at the Rebecca Middleton Nature Reserve in Paget (Image from planning documents)

The plan said the reserve, named after a young woman murdered on the island in 1996, was on a popular and well used section of the Railway Trail off Tribe Road No 3 in Paget.

“The conservation of this space is not only important because of the ecosystem services it provides but also out of respect for her [Rebecca’s] family and friends,” the CMP said.

“Ultimately a space like this promotes community healing and wellbeing, as well as the obvious benefits open space has for human health.”

The documents noted that the reserve recently received some attention thanks to a grant given to the BNT from the Bermuda End-to-End intended to benefit reserves that border the Railway Trail.

“At Rebecca Middleton Nature Reserve, funds were used to reinstate/repair access steps and an historic drystone wall that had been neglected and limited the public’s access to Tribe Road No 3,” the plan said.

“At least 45 native and endemic specimens were planted. A bench was also installed on the Railway Trail for people to sit and enjoy the space.

“The purpose of this Conservation Management Plan is to create a phased plan, transitioning the reserves from 30 per cent native and endemic flora to around 90 per cent native and endemic flora.”

Overgrowth at the Rebecca Middleton Nature Reserve in Paget (Image from planning documents)

According to the CMP, invasive species in the reserve would be cleared and chipped on site with endemic and native species planted in cleared spaces.

“This will include the introduction of some ornamental species to increase the aesthetic and to commemorate Rebecca Middleton,” the plan added.

Murder victim Rebecca Middleton

“The addition of organic weed mat installed on to the stairs will reduce the amount of ongoing care and maintenance required in the future.”

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Published September 18, 2023 at 7:59 am (Updated September 18, 2023 at 7:38 am)

Plan to enhance nature reserve named after murder victim

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