Andrew's Wood nature reserve
Our nature reserves
Axmouth Undercliffs Appeal – the bad news… and the good news
A Message from the DWT Chief Executive, Harry Barton
First off - we want to thank everyone who kindly donated to this Appeal.
We had an incredibly positive response and our supporters’ enthusiasm about creating a spectacular new nature reserve on the east Devon coast resulted in just under £50,000 of donations. This makes it the most successful appeal in our history. And the Trust’s fundraising team were equally excited by this project – after some long days and many letters, phone calls and meetings, the Trust was able to secure pledges from various organisations which, along with all the other donations, raised the full six-figure sum needed to purchase this land.
So why is there bad news?
Well, to our great disappointment the vendor decided to withdraw part of the land that was for sale. This was the area that had the greatest potential for wildlife enhancement and that would have helped improve access to this stunning site.
We understand the vendor’s decision was related to objections from some local residents who were concerned about increased public access and associated parking. We believe the fears would have proved unfounded, and we.worked hard to bring opinion around. But unfortunately, we have not been able to persuade the vendor to include the full area of land that was originally offered for sale.
As a result, the project has become untenable for two of our most significant funders and we have had to reconsider the entire initiative. It is extremely frustrating after so much hard work and such enthusiastic support. If you have ever had a house purchase fall through when you thought you were nearing a completion date, you’ll know exactly how we’re feeling at the Trust right now.
But there is a silver lining to this particular cloud.
We have another exciting opportunity come up to purchase land in the South Hams to benefit local wildlife and lovers of great nature reserves.
In the Avon Valley, one of the most beautiful and wildlife rich parts of Devon, this new project includes a significant expansion of Andrew's Wood, our finest reserve in the area. Home to one of the highest known dormouse populations in the UK, and to the county’s largest colony of the rare heath lobelia, Andrew’s Wood is also an important foraging ground for bats and a nesting site for birds such as nuthatch and willow warbler.
The reason this development is particularly exciting is that an expanded Andrew’s Wood will create a bigger, better, more joined-up area of habitat in the Avon Valley. In turn, the Trust’s local land adviser can demonstrate to farmers and landowners in the area, exactly how they can create more wildlife-rich habitat on their own land. And for visitors, the extended part of the reserve will link to an existing public footpath, giving you further opportunities to explore this very special corner of our county.
Because, unless specified otherwise, the donations received for our Undercliffs appeal are ‘ring-fenced’ for expenditure on new and existing nature reserves, contributions to date could be invaluable in helping us secure this extension to Andrew’s Wood. If all the funds from the Undercliff appeal are not required for Andrew’s Wood, contributions will be used to fund management work on DWT reserves, including some of our newest sites at Emsworthy, on southern Dartmoor, and Clayhidon Turbary in the Blackdown Hills.
I’m sure you share our disappointment in the collapse of the Undercliffs land purchase, but I hope you can also share in the Trust’s excitement at the other nature reserve plans we are developing. Do get in touch if you have any questions.
Thanks once again, I want to thank all of our members and supporters for their kind and generous support.