THURSLEY National Nature Reserve’s unique wetland habitat has been officially recognised as a ‘dragonfly hotspot’ by the British Dragonfly Society.

Dragonfly hotspots are sites carefully chosen by the society as ideal places for dragonfly and damselfly species to live and thrive in.

They provide easy access for everyone to visit, and offer opportunities for the community to learn and engage with the natural environment.

Thursley National Nature Reserve is a RAMSAR site of international importance for wetland wildlife, and is known as a haven for these insects, with 26 species of dragonfly and damselflies recorded there.

The celebration, involving local partners, stakeholders, decision makers and Thursley’s volunteers, was led by Natural England’s deputy chairman Lord Blencathra, who said: “It’s fantastic to receive this badge of honour from the British Dragonfly Society.

“Recognition as a dragonfly hotspot will make Thursley an open secret, helping to put it on the map for the rich and varied wildlife that call it home, while opening up opportunities for people to engage and learn from it.

“I would like to thank Natural England’s reserve manager James Giles and Thursley’s incredible volunteers for their work in creating the amazing boardwalk and Dragonfly Nature Trail which makes the wetland wildlife on this site accessible to all.

“I would encourage anyone with a love of nature to join them in supporting the wildlife on site and inspiring others to make a difference.”

The opening ceremony involved the unveiling of an information board created by the society and donated by the John Spedan Lewis Foundation, which is set to be installed at Pine Island in Thursley. It was followed by a guided walk along the dragonfly nature trail.

Fiona McKenna, conservation outreach officer at the British Dragonfly Society said: “We are so excited to be designating Thursley as a dragonfly hotspot.”