People are being asked to dig deep to help prevent one of Huntingdonshire’s most important areas for wildlife from being carved apart by a link road.

A public appeal has started to raise £60,000 towards the purchase of Godmanchester Nature Reserve to protect it from being used as part of an east Huntingdon bypass.

The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, which manages the 150-acre Cow Lane site, wants to buy the former gravel pits from building materials supplier Lafarge.

The trust is hoping to raise £400,000, with the help of grants, as part of a long-term plan to secure the land and create a wildlife haven.

In the shorter term, it has been campaigning against Cambridgeshire County Council's (CCC's) road plans and has submitted a 1,400-signature petition.

Its objection to the proposal will be discussed by the county council's Environment and Economy Committee on Tuesday, October 21.

The trust's director of marketing, fundraising and communications, Kathryn Hindley, said: "It's a really important site in that it's one of the few places in the Ouse Valley where you can get up close to birds and view them ­without disturbing them.

"It's a fantastic area for over-wintering birds and creates a wetland area for them where they can feed and get the ­sustenance they need to keep going before they head north in the summer."

The reserve features four lakes and in winter is home to many species of duck, geese and wading birds that make the 2,500-mile trip from the Arctic and sub-Arctic Russia and Greenland.

Plans include habitat management and the re-introduction of water voles, as well as the installation of a car park and bird hide. There will also be continuing ­maintenance, such as pollarding and coppicing, and community events, guided walks, family days and activities for schools and other groups.

INFORMATION: To make a donation, you can visit www.wildlifebcn.org/godmanchester-appeal.