Durham Wildlife Trust aims to purchase sought-after land


Durham Wildlife Trust (DWT) is seeking £54,000 to help buy land near its Rainton Meadows reserve, which could otherwise be sold to housing developers.

The charity needs to raise the money before October so it can buy the fields bordering the driveway to the Durham site.

Emily Routledge, head of development and communications at DWT, said the charity had been trying to buy the land for years, but the landowner has only recently entertained its offer. 

Durham Wildlife Trust wants to purchase land next to its Rainton Meadows reserve (Jimmy Pitt).


Threat of development

DWT wants to use the fields to make the nature reserve larger – but there has long been a desire for development on them and planning application for housing last went to the local authority in 2018, she said.

If any plans were approved, they would be "really detrimental" to the reserve where more than 200 bird species have been recorded, Ms Routledge explained, adding that housing developments nearby would mean more house cats nearby, which would have an impact on ground-nesting birds.

The trust has an October deadline to unlock cash from the Landfill Communities Fund. The fields themselves cost £540,000 and the charity needs to raise 10% of this itself in order to access the rest.


Fundraiser launched

DWT launched its campaign on Thursday 28 June after sending donation letters to its members and has already raised more than £47,000.

If the land is purchased, the plan is to start work next year creating new wetlands on the site.