Wiltshire woodland to be converted into nature reserve


An ancient woodland in Wiltshire is to be saved and transformed into a nature reserve.

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust has announced the purchase of Great Wood, an ancient woodland near Grittenham in North Wiltshire that covers some 71 ha. The transformation into a nature reserve prevents the woodland from being sold off to multiple landowners or commercially managed.

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust plan to restore Great Wood to a fully functioning ancient woodland ecosystem (David Gilbert).

Gary Mantle, chief executive of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, said: "I am delighted that we have saved Great Wood as a fantastic place for nature and people in Wiltshire. We will restore it to a fully functioning ancient woodland ecosystem, increasing biodiversity while ensuring it is more resilient to the impacts of climate change."

Only 3% of Wiltshire is ancient woodland and there is only 8% of woodland cover in total. The Trust was provided a £2.1m grant from Biffa Award, a multi-million pound fund that helps to build communities and transform lives through awarding grants to community and environmental projects across the UK.

"This is a unique opportunity for us to preserve what is probably the largest collection of wild service trees in the country as well as fantastic stands of oak," Mr Mantle added. "We have a wonderful chance to work with local farmers and other landowners to connect Great Wood to other nearby ancient woodlands and hedgerows as part of a wider nature recovery network."