The Manx Wildlife Trust has completed the purchase of land next to its MWT Lough Cranstal nature reserve in Bride.

The wider Lough Cranstal area now comprises some 70 acres after the additional 9.4 acres were bought.

It is of outstanding ecological importance for its wetland habitats and associated flora and fauna.

The MWT acquired its original site in 1989 via bequest, illustrating the real impact that legacies have on conservation.

The land the charity has just bought cost £68,000, which was funded by donations and through its charity shop.

The MWT Lough Cranstal nature reserve is an extremely boggy area of marsh and curragh associated with the Cranstal Trench.

It provides a home for many species, including common twayblade, marsh-marigold, lady’s smock, ragged-robin, meadowsweet, greater pond sedge, yellow iris and purple loosestrife.

The reserve also has areas of deep peat, some more than two metres deep, which is known to be a powerful carbon store.

Lough Cranstal is a very wild site, and the management of the reserve is minimal, leaving it largely undisturbed.

Although access is very limited and the rough terrain makes visiting the site difficult, the MWT plans to hold occasional events for MWT members as well as producing a video guide to the wildlife that calls it home.

As an MWT nature reserve, the new piece of land is now protected in perpetuity as one of the most biologically diverse parcels of land and one of the island’s most important sites for nature, preventing damaging activities such as drainage and habitat clearance.

It is hoped that the purchase will also help with plans to designate the whole Lough Cranstal site as an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI).

MWT reserves manager Tricia Sayle said ‘The ecological significance of Lough Cranstal was recognised back in 1975 when it was identified as a site of ecological importance for nature conservation by the Nature Conservancy Council and Institute of Terrestrial Ecology.

‘It is absolutely wonderful that the MWT has been able to secure the future of more of this area for Manx wildlife.’

Manx Wildlife Trust chief executive Leigh Morris said: ‘A core focus for MWT is now working with farmers and landowners to drive positive gains for nature across large areas of our island, however, the best way to conserve habitats and species in the long-term is still for us to own the land.

‘This new piece of land we have acquired at Lough Cranstal is of such high ecological value that we believed we needed to purchase it to secure it long-term for Manx nature.’