Trust launches appeal to buy ancient woodland

Astonbury Wood bluebells © Emma Matthars

Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust has launched a fundraising appeal to raise £104,000 to buy and manage Astonbury Wood near Stevenage.

Astonbury Wood, a 54-acre ancient woodland was put up for sale last year, prompting concern among the local community who petitioned the County Council to protect the site. A designated Local Wildlife Site, the woodland has existed since the 1600s and provides a rich wildlife habitat.

Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust aims to raise enough money to purchase the lease for the site and to manage it for wildlife and the community into the future.

Securing the future of wild places like Astonbury Wood is crucial for our planet and our local community.
Lesley Davies
Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust

Lesley Davies, the Trust’s Chief Executive, says: “As an ancient woodland, Astonbury Wood is irreplaceable – some of the trees there will have been standing for centuries. It is a wonderful place for people to experience wildlife and we want to help keep it that way. Nature is in crisis and we urgently need to protect more land for wildlife. Securing the future of wild places like Astonbury Wood is crucial for our planet and our local community.”

Wood anemone

Wood anemone © Vaughn Matthews

Ancient woodlands have been growing for hundreds of years and provide one of the richest habitats for wildlife. However, they don’t currently enjoy special protection – the more important it is to protect them for the future. Astonbury Wood is home to beautiful woodland flowers and is carpeted with bluebells each spring and hundreds of different fungi in autumn.

In Hertfordshire, one-fifth of the wildlife assessed in Hertfordshire’s State of Nature Report, published by the Trust in 2020, is currently either locally extinct or threatened with extinction. Habitat loss and fragmentation have sent populations plummeting. The report concludes that at least 30% of land must be protected for wildlife in order to combat the ecological and climate crisis.

Astonbury Wood bluebell woodland

© Frieda Rummenhohl

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Please help us protect Astonbury Wood for future generations and donate today.

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