A SOUTH Shropshire visitor attraction is to become a national centre for dragonflies.

The British Dragonfly Society have teamed up with the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre at Onny Meadows to launch England’s first ever Dragonfly Hotspot!

It has been chosen because of the wide variety of Dragonfly and Damselfly that can be seen at the site.

People are invited to learn more about these fascinating insects and to help celebrate the Dragonfly Hotspot launch!

The event on Saturday, May 26 will feature the launch of a new on-site information board, funded by the John Spedan Lewis Foundation, a guided walk with Dragonfly experts on hand to answer questions, pond dipping sessions to discover the amazing creatures that live beneath the water’s surface, and lots of fun activities with prizes to be won.

Dragonfly Hotspots are special places, carefully chosen because they support a good variety of Dragonfly and Damselfly species, are easy to access, and can provide opportunities for local communities to get involved with Dragonfly conservation and events.

These creatures are noted for their rapid flight and have relatively short lives on the wing.

They are predators both as aquatic larva and as adults.

Dragonflies spent many years of their lives in fresh water as nymphs.

They emerge and may only spend days to at most weeks on the wings but during this period they are spectacular and are known for their speed of flight.

It has been known for them to migrate across oceans.

Loss of wetland habitat has been a problem for Dragonflies and this one of the reasons why sites like the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre with an area of open water is so important.

On sunny days, visitors to Onny Meadows can enjoy fantastic views of Dragonflies gliding and zooming around the 30 acres of riverside meadows with oxbow ponds.

During the spring and summer, each year, the BDS and site staff will collaborate to run courses, walks and other events at the new Hotspot, while in the autumn and winter the BDS will support the Hotspot’s volunteer work parties in managing the site to improve its Dragonfly habitats.

“We are so excited to be launching the first ever Dragonfly Hotspot in England with the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre team at Onny Meadows,” said Fiona McKenna, British Dragonfly Society Outreach Officer.

“It is a beautiful site and the staff here are really keen to conserve their local Dragonfly species.

“Together we really hope to inspire even more people to get to love these fantastic insects and to get involved in monitoring them and creating places for them to live.”

Onny Meadows is also used for other nature activities including pond dipping by children who attend the regular ‘Discovery Club’ for youngsters.

The project will be launched with a special day of activities from 11am until 4pm and admission is free.