Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is calling on the public to help it surpass its fundraising target to support the protection of the county’s richest wildlife habitat.
In just six weeks the charity has received over £23,000 in donations towards its £25,000 appeal target, but with woodland habitats under threat and the costs of caring for these precious places rising steeply, the Trust hopes that the amazing wildlife that flourishes in woodlands in springtime will provide the inspiration for a flurry of further donations.
Speaking about the appeal, Head of Communications Erin McDaid said: “The spectacle of spring flowers such as wood anemone, dog violet and bluebells accompanied by the unique soundtrack of the ‘dawn chorus’ is something that many of us cherish; but with woodlands under threat from climate change, tree diseases and pressure for development, we need more support than ever to protect, restore and reconnect these truly special places.”
The charity is delighted that so many people have generously donated, but with rising costs associated with efforts to restore traditional woodland management and make woodlands safe for visitors whilst huge numbers of trees are dangerously affected by Ash Dieback Disease, it is keen to exceed its original target.
As well as generous donations, the Wildlife Trust has also benefitted from the inspirational support of local climate ambassadors, triplets Waimi, Mbetmi and Yimi aged 9 of Hucknall who recently visited the charity’s Ploughman Wood Nature Reserve to learn about our woodland management and to see some of the replacement trees that have been planted.
Erin explained: The more support we have, the more we can do to enhance the wildlife value of the woodlands in our care and to ensure that they remain open for visitors to enjoy. Having the support of Waimi, Mbetmi and Yimi and seeing their passion for protecting wildlife and the wider environment has helped spur the whole team on to do even more to protect our ancient woodlands for future generations.
Our ancient woodlands support more threatened species than any other habitat in the countryside, our local equivalent of the Amazon Rainforest and just as irreplaceable. As well as being an irreplaceable part of our natural heritage, they are also part of our history and culture – places where people can find solace and connect with nature.
Habitat restoration at the Trust’s Eaton & Gamston Woods, near Retford, has helped the population of hazel dormice, re-introduce in partnership with the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), to thrive. Monitoring by the Nottinghamshire Dormouse Group, which also carries out vital habitat restoration, has found that dormice are now also becoming established in woodlands in the surrounding landscape, in some cases having travelled more than half a kilometre from the woodlands where they were originally reintroduced – highlighting the role ancient woodlands can play in creating a wilder Nottinghamshire.
With half of the UK’s ancient woodland lost since the 1930’s, protecting and caring for those that remain couldn’t be more important. Fifty years ago this year, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust volunteers took the bold step to raise the funds to buy its first site Treswell Wood, also near Retford, to save this stunning ancient woodland from becoming a commercial forestry plantation. Five decades on, the charity cares for 200 hectares of ancient woodlands across the county including Bunny Old Wood (West), near East Leake, Ploughman Wood near Lowdham, Duke’s Wood near Eakring, Kirton Wood near Ollerton and Dyscarr Wood north of Worksop.
In addition to enhancing woodlands in its care, the charity works to protect other sites from the threat of development. Nationally, around 1,000 ancient woodlands are threatened by damaging development and with less than 3% of the UK landscape still covered by ancient woodland the need to act to safeguard these life affirming places has never been greater.
Details of how you can support the county’s ancient woodlands can be found at nottinghamshirewildlife.org/ancientwoodland or by calling 0115 958 8242