Fingle Woods reaches £3.8m milestone

Dame Helen Ghosh and Beccy Speight, Chief Exec of the Woodland Trust © National Trust

Dame Helen Ghosh and Beccy Speight, Chief Exec of the Woodland Trust

Latest update 04.07.2014 16:37

Despite our disappointment on missing out in our bid to acquire a section of iconic estuary and coastline in Devon at Bantham, we have been able to celebrate the full acquisition of Fingle Woods on the edge of Dartmoor with the Woodland Trust.

Together we have reached the £3.8m funding target which means the entire 825 acre site is now fully in our joint care. The final piece of the funding puzzle was provided by a grant of £845,000 from Viridor Credits Environmental Company, via the Landfill Communities Fund, which enabled us to purchase the outstanding piece of land within Fingle Woods which had yet to be secured.

We still however need to raise a further £1.2 million which will allow us to carry out much needed restoration work on site over coming years, which will improve the woodland habitats and encourage a greater variety of wildlife to make their homes within Fingle Woods.

Beccy Speight, Woodland Trust Chief Executive, said: 'This is a landmark project between two of the countries’ leading conservation organisations and we’ve received fantastic support to make the purchase of Fingle Woods a reality.

'There is still a long way to go restoring the woods so we need further financial support, but in the meantime we’d encourage people to come and see the site for themselves and be inspired.'

Our partnership with Woodland Trust

Helen Ghosh, our Director General, added: 'This is the first time that the National Trust has formed a land management partnership with the Woodland Trust. We firmly believe that forming such partnerships in the future and working on a landscape scale is the essential thing for us to do if we are to stem the decline in biodiversity in this country.'

Gareth Williams,Viridor Credits Acting General Manager, said: 'Fingle Woods represents an exciting opportunity to not only save one of a few precious scraps of ancient woodland, but also to engage with the community to demonstrate why it is so important to protect this important habitat.'

What the funding is needed for

The remaining funding is needed to restore the two-thirds of Fingle Woods which is covered by conifers but has ancient woodland species laying dormant underneath. By gradually thinning the conifers over many decades, light levels reaching the forest floor will increase allowing native woodland to regenerate, benefitting species such as the pied flycatcher, redstart, wood warbler and fritillary butterflies.

Damaged ancient woodland makes up nearly half of the existing ancient woodland left in the UK, which is irreplaceable and covers just 2% of the landscape, restoration is the only way to improve its long-term future.

The charities have also received funding support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, a number of charitable trusts and individual donors.