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Appeal to purchase wildlife rich woodland reaches 30% of target

Kent Wildlife Trust’s appeal to purchase Covert Wood in Elham has raised over 30% of its £462,500 goal.

As the appeal for donations continues, members of the trust are raising concerns over the number of precious habitats going on the market across Kent.

Gorse Hill near Dover, a 12 hectare woodland in an area of outstanding natural beauty has been put on the market for £275,000 and described by agents as having ‘development potential’.

Upper Hardres Wood, near Canterbury, a site of around 85 hectares was also put up for sale for £1.5 million this week.

The trust launched the appeal to purchase Covert Wood, a 26 hectare site in Elham near Canterbury in mid April and, since then, it has raised £142,046 of its £462,500 target. Over 650 people have donated to the appeal, many leaving comments about the importance of protecting the site.

Simon Bateman-Brown, head of land management at Kent Wildlife Trust, said: ‘Connecting people with nature and restoring nature at scale is fundamental to fighting the climate and biodiversity crises. It will take a concerted effort from us all to enact the change that now needs to be made and protecting these precious wildlife habitats is crucial.

‘It is concerning that so many of these important, much needed nature rich habitats are being placed on the market in quick succession, as these sites need to be managed for wildlife if we are going to adapt to the challenges posed by the climate and nature crises.

‘Covert Wood is a rich ancient woodland and there is a risk that it could be sold off in smaller individual sections. If this happens, it would be impossible to manage for the benefit of nature.’

The site comprises a striking broadleaf woodland, quintessential of East Kent, alongside oak, beech, hornbeam, and sweet chestnut. Visitors to the site will also find bluebells, wood anemones, bee and purple orchid and other key ancient woodland indicator species.

Because of this extremely special amalgamation of British woodland species, Covert Wood is classed as being of high conservation value.

Covert Wood offers a significant opportunity to connect fragmented woodland habitats, vital for species such as woodpeckers, nightingales and Pine marten which require healthy woodland that they can move between unimpeded.

Simon Bateman-Brown continued, ‘Under the management of the trust we can protect it indefinitely, running it as a nature reserve for wildlife. It is perfectly situated to help us connect the landscape for nature, something that our wildlife depleted country desperately needs.

‘Whilst it may appear there is still some way to go to raise the required funds, the support we have had so far has been overwhelming, with over 650 people contributing to the appeal. I would like to thank everyone who has contributed. We will continue to fundraise and examine other ways to raise the money required so we can protect this ancient woodland.

‘Together we can create bigger, better and more connected landscapes which allow nature to flourish in every corner of our county.’

Donations can be made online via Kent Wildlife Trust’s website

Pictures courtesy: Kent Wildlife Trust


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