Above: Merlin ‘Windward’ will join this season’s flying team at the International Centre for Birds of Prey and has been sponsored by Barratt and David Wilson Homes. The roads connecting their latest housing development, Merlin Gate, will also be named after birds of prey. Photo: Simon Reynolds


A NEW MERLIN to join the flying team at the International Centre for Birds of Prey (ICBP) has been sponsored by the constructors of a nearby housing estate.

In recognition of the neighbouring Gloucestershire bird-of-prey centre, housebuilders Barratt and David Wilson Homes have donated £1,000 to sponsor the merlin, while naming its latest housing development after it.

Construction at Merlin Gate in Newent, Forest of Dean, is underway to build 230 new homes.

Jemima Parry-Jones, director at ICBP, thanked the housebuilders for the generous donation and said she looked forward to welcoming the new residents of Merlin Gate to the centre.

“We are working hard to raise funds to continue conserving and protecting vulnerable birds of prey both here and overseas, and to offer members of the public the chance to know and love them as we do,” she said. “So it’s even more exciting that a whole new community here in Newent will carry the name of the merlin.”

“Windward” the sponsored merlin is one of more than 200 birds of prey cared for at the ICBP. The centre has recently launched a fundraiser after its closure due to Covid-19 severely impacted its revenue.

Richard Lawson, sales director for Barratt Homes South Wales, said: “Celebrating and protecting wildlife on and around our developments is hugely important to us at Barratt Homes so we’re really proud to be able to reflect that in the name of this new community now under construction in Newent and to support the International Centre for Birds of Prey.”

The ICBP is temporarily closed due to the latest Covid-19 guidance from the government.

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