Woodland Trust reaches £2m target to buy scenic East Devon site earmarked for rare wildlife haven

The Woodland Trust has successfully secured more than £2million to buy a ‘stunning’ East Devon site it wants to transform into a haven for rare wildlife.

Charity chiefs faced a race against time to hit their target to purchase the 134-acre plot near Lympstone.

They want to create an attraction set in a scenic rural valley close to the Exe Estuary that will be free for people to enjoy.

An appeal has raised a seven-figure sum in just a matter of weeks.

It was kick-started by a generous £750,000 grant from Biffa Award, a partnership with Lloyds Banking Group, and support from The John Swire 1989 Charitable Trust.

The charity – celebrating its 50th year – netted enough to buy the site, but still needs to secure £275,000 to manage its transformation into a ‘resilient and thriving wooded landscape’.

The charity says it will start consulting with neighbours and local people on plans to bring the vision into fruition ‘over the coming months’.

First trees being planted in the autumn.

The 134-acre East Devon sire is near to Lympstone and the Exe Estuary. Image: Woodland Trust

The 134-acre East Devon sire is near to Lympstone and the Exe Estuary. Image: Woodland Trust

The Woodland Trust’s Paul Allen said:  “The site is a remarkable opportunity to contribute to nature recovery in Devon, creating, through tree planting and natural regeneration, a vibrant mosaic of woodland and wood pasture together with open grassland spaces.

“Its existing hedgerows, veteran trees, streams, copse and wooded valley provide a good basis for this unique woodland creation project.

“The proximity of it to nature reserves including the Pebblebed Heaths and the Exe Estuary adds to its significance. It will improve the ecological connectivity and resilience of the landscape, as we face the twin threats of the climate and nature crises. “

The trust has pledged to end the use of plastic tree shelters and use a range of techniques to introduce native trees and shrubs suited the characteristics of the local and wider area.

It will showcase the ‘multiple benefits’ of trees and woods for climate adaptation, nature recovery and resilience, natural flood management and carbon capture.

Mr Allen added: “With access for local people to a new green space a central part of the project and their involvement key to its success, this project will contribute to health and well-being at a time when this is sorely needed.

“The support from the public has been invaluable to this project. We couldn’t have got to this point without them, and we’d like to express our heartfelt thanks for their support us to secure this land for wildlife and people.”

Race against time for Woodland Trust to hit £2.5million target in bid to create haven for rare wildlife at 134-acre East Devon site

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