Woodland Trust

Will you help create the largest new forest in England?

Imagine standing in the middle of an agricultural plain - monotonous, chemical-sprayed fields stretch across the landscape as far as the eye can see. Now imagine standing in the same spot, but in the middle of thriving, natural woodland. Chattering birds and delicate butterflies flit across quiet and peaceful glades by day whilst badgers and foxes pad warily between towering trees at night. With your help, this vision could become reality.

history Campaign has now closed

It ran from 2:21 PM, 7 January 2011 to 5:01 PM, 7 December 2011

Registered Charity in England and Wales (294344)

Amount raised





  • AnimalsAnimals
  • Community Support & DevelopmentCommunity Support & Development
  • Environment/ConservationEnvironment/Conservation
  • Sports/RecreationSports/Recreation


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  • Women & GirlsWomen & Girls
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Big is beautiful - transforming featureless fields into flourishing forest England has less than six per cent broadleaved woodland cover. In the past 30 years, the Woodland Trust has planted millions of trees, but much of this conservation work has been on comparatively small sites. With external factors such as climate change affecting woodland habitats and the species they support, big is beautiful. Large areas of woodland can provide a more secure haven than small isolated fragments, enabling wildlife to adapt to changes in their environment. This is even more important in regions of urban pressure and intensive land use, where access to woods can be difficult for both wildlife and people. A mystery forest for the future The Trust has an incredible opportunity to purchase approximately 1,000 acres of land in the south east of England. The impressive scale of this site means we could plant over half a million native trees, transforming it into England’s largest continuous broadleaved forest! Alive with biodiversity, it could be home to a variety of declining species including dormouse, bullfinch, nightingale. Iconic birds requiring large areas of woodland to thrive, such as goshawk, are also likely to benefit. We have been searching for years for the chance to create a large woodland wilderness in England. Nowhere are the competing demands for land more evident than in the South East so we must seize this opportunity now - if we fail, this land could be sold for development or lost to even more intensive land use. Unfortunately, due to the sensitive acquisition process we are unable to reveal the site’s location, a restriction which prevents us from applying for crucial grants. Without this funding, we are relying on the generosity of our supporters to secure the site. With less than three months to commit and complete the purchase, this appeal is extremely urgent. But that is not all we are trying to do Only three miles from the busy centre of Colchester near Elmstead Market in Essex, there are 250 acres of open farmland that we are keen to protect for native tree planting. A significant amount of ancient woodland has already been lost in the surrounding area. We would like to plant 200,000 trees to create a large tract of new woodland that will reconnect the few surviving fragments of ancient woods, providing a valuable haven for species such as the bullfinch and water vole. A third opportunity for woodland creation recently arose at a public auction, where we acquired 168 acres of ancient woodland, pasture and arable land bordering the River Wear, just two miles from the historic city of Durham. We now look forward to creating diverse new woodland that will extend the range of existing habitats. But we were bidding against a number of developers and buying at auction allowed no time for fundraising and we therefore had to borrow and now need to pay back the loan. Urgent appeal - you can help us plant a million trees Together, these three acquisitions are an unmissable opportunity to plant up to a million trees, a transformation which will safeguard almost 1,500 acres for wildlife and future generations. With land in England becoming increasingly difficult to acquire, we must act now. We have a total project cost of £12 million for these three projects and we desperately need your support. This urgent appeal is a major step towards making our vision for woodland creation in England become reality. Do get in touch if you can help.