The public is invited to help a £2.5million bid to turn the Devon site into a haven for woodland wildlife

The Woodland Trust is proposing to turn a rural site in Devon into new woodland for a range of wildlife, in the county where the charity began its work.

He is asking for the public’s help to raise the remainder of the £2.5million needed to transform land near Lympstone, near the Exe Estuary, with a mix of planting and letting trees grow back naturally and shrubs.

Areas will also be left in open ground with wooded pastures and grasslands, and it is hoped that the project will create favorable conditions for the colonization of a range of species including rare nightjars, endangered bats, dormice hazels and dull butterflies.

The 54-hectare (130-acre) site may even attract beavers from the nearby River Otter population once streams and waterways are restored and colonized with alders, willows and other native trees, said the charity.

The Woodland Trust says it hopes beavers will colonize the site (Ben Birchall/PA)

It is currently made up of farmland and small pockets of existing hardwood and bluebell forest, as well as several streams and individual old trees.

The Woodland Trust says volunteers and local residents will be involved in creating the new woodland landscape, that there will be public access and that tree planting will be done without using plastic tree guards.

The charity is celebrating 50 years, having started life as a group of friends in Devon discussing saving a local woodland in 1972, which soon led to the charity’s first purchase of charities, of Avon Woods in the county.

He now looks after 1,000 woodlands across the UK and campaigns to protect others from development.

The Trust has already raised nearly £1.5m to acquire and run the land, but needs another £1m for the project and says time is running out as it needs to finalize the purchase by March.

The landscape of the site that the Woodland Trust wants to turn into a wildlife refuge (Phil Formby/WTML/PA)
The landscape of the site that the Woodland Trust wants to turn into a wildlife refuge (Phil Formby/WTML/PA)

Paul Allen, Devon site manager for the Woodland Trust, said: ‘Nestled in a hidden valley in East Devon, the site includes areas of extant hardwood woodland, several streams and a scattering of veteran trees. isolated, which would once have been part of the hedges. , criss-crossing the fields.

“What makes this land such a prize is the exceptional array of rare wildlife found nearby and which we hope will settle here once a richer variety of habitats, trees to open spaces, will have been established.

“In our 50th year, with the twin threats of climate change and nature loss looming ever larger, this is a hugely important time to create this forest and provide more spaces for nature to thrive. and improves connectivity to the wider landscape.”