(excerpted from North Devon Gazette, Tony Gussin)
Devon Wildlife Trust has bought the 80 hectare wetland and now owns the land between the breached outer bank and the inner Great Bank. The land managed by the Braunton Marsh Drainage Board is not part of the purchase.
Mark Ansell, a local resident and bird watching enthusiast, helped the charity to meet the unknown price with a generous donation.
The trust says it now intends to make the site its latest nature reserve.
Peter Burgess, DWT director of conservation and development, said: “Horsey is an exciting, dynamic place which is now being shaped by natural processes, dominated by the daily tides which ebb and flow into the reserve.
“Shifting sands and muds are starting to be colonised by salt marsh plants. It is now an exceptionally important location for roosting and feeding wading birds and stands as one of the best locations in the county to see murmurations of wading birds from the security of the coast path.”
Harry Barton, the charity’s chief executive, said: “The purchase of Horsey Island is a wonderful opportunity. It will allow us to protect and enhance a stunning area of intertidal habitats in North Devon.
“Over the coming months we will be developing ambitious plans for the site in discussion with local stakeholders so that it reaches its full potential as a stunning place for wildlife and the local community.”
Jasmine Chesters, chairman of the Marsh Drainage Board, said members would be discussing the purchase at their meeting on Thursday (November 7).
She added: “The Marsh Drainage board would be interested in hearing what they propose to do with the site, it has been neglected for a while and would be interesting to find out what’s going on.”