Wiltshire Wildlife Trust has launched a public appeal to raise the remaining £120,000 needed to secure the future of Great Wood, an ancient woodland, which covers 175 acres near Grittenham.
These vital funds will help the Trust protect and restore Great Wood for nature, bringing one of the county’s few remaining large ancient woodlands back to its former glory.
Samantha Stork, Head of Conservation at Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, says:
“We now have a unique chance to make Great Wood a fantastic place for nature to thrive. This lovely ancient woodland is home to probably the largest collection of wild service trees in the country, as well as fantastic stands of oak. Through this appeal, we can raise the funds needed to reverse the wood’s decline.”
“We will increase the biodiversity of the woodland by creating habitat to attract wildlife that has been lost from the area and prevent more species disappearing, such as the rare wood white butterfly, now absent in Wiltshire. We will replace the areas of non-native conifers, which currently cover around a third of the woodland, with a mix of native broadleaf trees.”
Under the restoration programme, the Trust will create glades, widen woodland rides and coppice hazel to let light back into the woodland floor, allowing ground flora to spring back. Diversity in the woodland structure and a mixture of areas with light and dappled shade will provide better habitat for a huge variety of insects, birds and mammals.
Working with expert partners such as Butterfly Conservation and Wiltshire Botanical Society, the Trust will create habitat ideal for woodland butterflies, including the pearl-bordered fritillary, as well as birds such as nightingale and willow warbler.
Ponds in woodlands provide homes to a huge variety of wildlife. The Trust will restore Great Wood’s existing pond and create a second. With droughts becoming more common, flourishing ponds will be key in helping sustain Great Wood’s bird, mammal, amphibian and insect residents as well as its varied plant life.
Establishing a programme of community engagement activities that will continue long into the future will be a key part of this project. By taking part in the Trust’s guided activities, Great Wood will offer a tremendous place for local communities to enjoy nature, relax, learn and volunteer. From learning in nature, including providing a rare resource for the new Natural History GCSE, to forest school, guided walks and eco-therapy, the Trust will provide a host of fascinating activities, allowing everyone to benefit from nature.
The purchase of Great Wood and the restoration works will cost an estimated £2.22 million. The Trust has already successfully secured £2.1m from Biffa Award, its largest ever single grant award in celebration of their 25th anniversary, through the Landfill Communities Fund.
To donate to Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s Great Wood appeal, visit: www.wiltshirewildlife.org/great-wood-appeal