Brickmakers Wood wildlife regeneration project

by Joanna Brooks in Ipswich, England, United Kingdom

Brickmakers Wood wildlife regeneration project
We did it
On 5th April 2017 we successfully raised £1,490 with 49 supporters in 56 days

Please help vulnerable people and wildlife by funding our unique project: Regeneration of town-centre woodland environmental disaster.

by Joanna Brooks in Ipswich, England, United Kingdom

Please help us to raise £15,000 so that we can:

  • Transform an urban environmental disaster, in an area of high deprivation, into a beautiful, natural high-biodiversity woodland setting.
  • Provide mentoring, training and team-building experiences for vulnerable members of the community.
  • Provide an urban tranquil green space for people with life limiting illnesses to use as a uniquly adapted place of relaxation and as an aid to palliative care.
  • Raise awareness of and save endangered and protected wildlife

We must regenerate Brickmakers Wood, a neglected and illegally misused town centre woodland.

Our mission is to transform it into a beautiful, natural and tranquil woodland retreat for people with life limiting illnesses and their families to enjoy as a private, accessible, uniquely adapted woodland. It will be equipped with the essential amenities desired when undergoing certain treatments. 

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs acknowledges that the opportunities to benefit from spending time in the natural environment are currently not open to everyone. We want to change that.

We will also provide forest parties and bushcraft sessions for children whose parents, carers or other family members have a life limiting illness such as cancer. 

Our professional staff members have undertaken the initial clean up of the dangerous litter and larger fly tipped items in most of the woodland, but there is still decades of illegal drug syringes, glass bottles and other dangerous rubbish to clear. In the areas already made safe and with money raised by you we will invite children and adults with; disabilities, mental ill health, behavioral or emotional difficulties, dementia, the isolated elderly and other vulnerable members of the community, to work with us in the planning, transformation and maintenance of the woodland. Alongside our trained staff, and with the tools provided by your kind donations, they will create and maintain a beautiful and essential setting out of an environmental disaster and gain important life skills in the process. This not only increases biodiversity in the area by managing and creating more habitats and green pathways for the local priority species such as the Western European hedgehog or the seriously threatened stag beetle, but also makes it possible for the people with life limiting illnesses and local communities to enjoy the accessible, beneficial green space.

  • It is a well known fact that spending time in nature and specifically near trees improves physical and mental health by increasing energy level, decreasing blood pressure and stress.

Urban wildlife conservation areas are important and need to be saved.

With urban areas predicted to triple in size by 2030 and natural habitats declining, it is essential that we protect this small urban woodland so that it is not used for development.

Urban greenspace has an important role to play in reducing habitat fragmentation and retaining some connectivity between patches as development occurs.

Brickmakers Wood is a semi-fragmented habitat with wildlife corridors leading to council parks and other small woodlands which have a medium conservation value. We are looking at options that will link Brickmakers Wood with other green spaces of particularly high conservation value, in the local area.

Our Endangered/Priority Species Project:

With your support we will create an endangered/priority species management area with essential human access only. Working with the University of Suffolk, the main purpose of the project is to vastly increase biodiversity, concentrating on priority and endangered local species. Statistical data collected by Eden-Rose Coppice staff members and University students will map biodiversity improvements. This research will add to urban biodiversity knowledge.

We will install wildlife cameras at strategic points around the area and feed live and recorded footage to the student groups at the University of Suffolk. In addition, with the money we raise, we will be able to place screens within our information centres for the benefit of our user groups. We will use the footage to educate a wide range of vulnerable children and adults, who visit our sites, about the importance of creating and maintaining essential habitats in an urban environment.


If you are able to make a donation, no matter how small,  we will be able to create the perfect habitats that will encourage endangered species such as bats, rodents such as the Hazel Dormouse. Mammals including The West-European Hedgehog and beetles such as The European stag beetle.

Urban wildflowers

Thankfully there is an increasing awareness of the need to provide more pollen and nectar sources for the struggling pollinator population.  However,  the plight of wildflowers still needs to be acted on now before it is too late. According to 'PlantLife',  one in six of our woodland flowers are threatened with extinction. This is generally due to the cessation of coppicing, increased use of herbicides on roads, a decline in pollinators, over-crowding of the canopy, invasive ground cover, damage by deer and trampling caused by animals and humans. 

The money we raise will help us to selectivly fell over crowding trees and shrubs and buy the tools needed to efficasiously use coppicing  on a cycle of active management to create more open habitat. This will encourage endangered species such as the:

Corn buttercup (Ranunculus arvensis)

and the Crested Cow-wheat (Melampyrum cristatum)

With your help we will be able to:

  • Support people with a life limiting illness, such as cancer, and their families
  • Provide sessions for children and adults with disabilities
  • Clear ALL areas of All of the dangerous litter (such as needles and other drug paraphernalia).
  • Set up additional security fencing to inhibit any further criminal activity. (The small areas we have temporarily designated for our forest school and horticultural activities are currently adequately secure).
  • Clear the entire area of fly tipped rubbish. We will need at least 3 big skips.
  • Selectively fell and/or veteranise (creating dead trees specifically for wildlife) the over crowding sycamore trees that are starving the ground floor of light.
  • Plant smaller heritage traditional orchard tree species, in place of the felled sycamores to encourage and support a wider range of wildlife.
  • Plant beneficial woodland shrubs and flowers to encourage priority wildlife species.
  • Create and maintain habitats for wildlife.
  • Construct a wildlife pond and wetland area to support a wider range of wildlife.
  • Buy the tools needed to efficaciously use coppicing on a cycle of active management, to create more open habitat.
  • Install wireless wildlife cameras with added strong night vision, in bird/bat boxes and strategic places around the endangered/priority species management area.
  • Buy2 all terrain wheelchairs for anyone with mobility challenges and constructing a secure shelter for them.

More about Brickmakers Wood:

Until 2015 ERCT’s Brickmakers Wood was unmanaged, being used for illicit actives with decades worth of syringes, human faeces and fly tipped rubbish. The fundamental clean up of drug paraphernalia and other dangerous litter has been undertaken in most areas. 1 area has been meticulously cleared and modestly transformed to allow the commencement of our forest school activities. Another area has been transformed into a horticultural area with disabled access, for the benefit of our clients, and we have opened up a small part of the woodland to sunlight, allowing ground flora to flourish, taller grassland areas to thrive, and fallen trees to rot down.

The gradual reversal of low-level biodiversity, in these areas is becoming evident: to date 8 giant stag beetles have been recorded.

Brickmakers Wood in an area of deprivation:

The woodland is in the top 10% most deprived neighbourhoods in the UK, and is highly vulnerable in the income, employment, health, disability, crime and living environment domains. Mental health issues, drugs misuse and vulnerable housed individuals are proportionally higher in Ipswich than the rest of Suffolk. Furthermore, 1 in 5 pupils, in Ipswich, have a special education need and over 7,000 children have a disability and many of these individuals will benefit from their engagement with the Woodland.

There is now a positive attitude towards increasing the level of engagement of students with learning difficulties with the natural environment and that greater opportunities for learning outside the classroom will enhance students learning experiences.

 One primary school head teacher stated: ‘What I have found working with autistic children is that they just are different when you take them into nature, to how they are in a classroom. When we are in school, it’s very contrived, and they know they will have to do things that they may not be very comfortable about doing, but when they go into nature e.g. woods I think they feel much more relaxed, they seem to understand the environment, they feel more comfortable – maybe because they are’

Brickmakers Wood staff will provide exciting and educative termly sessions and holiday clubs. We will offer children, including those with disabilities, behavioral and emotional needs the opportunity to learn about their local natural environment, in a private and secure outdoor space.

We WILL transform this environmental disaster but we really need your help to do it.

Please help with what ever amount you can.

Thank you

Our Charity: The Eden-Rose Coppice Trust

Eden-Rose Coppice Trust grew from one mans inspired goal to restore a small, neglected urban woodland for the important and sole use of those who are terminally ill into a leading charity whose woodlands inspire, support and vastly improve the physical and mental health of whole communities living in urban areas of high deprivation. During the charity founders trips to local hospitals and hospices with his late wife, who had been diagnosed as terminally ill, the plight of other terminally ill patients, who could no longer tend to their adored gardens or immerse themselves in nature, were made increasingly aware to him. As a solution to the issue, and using his past experience of horticulture and forestry, he was determined to restore a local urban, neglected and misused woodland, which would have been otherwise sold off and built on, for this very purpose. In 2007, with the help of the local community he began transforming the 3 acre site, in Sudbury, into a uniquely adapted, wheelchair friendly, beautiful and tranquil woodland rich in biodiversity for people with cancer or other life limiting illness. Rob Brooks’ main ambition was to create a wonderful natural woodland that would encourage wildlife and provide a private place of solitude for those requiring palliative care to heighten their wellbeing and a place of cultivation to enhance their health. 

It is widely recognised that woodlands can contribute to the well-being of communities by providing natural restorative spaces in urban environments and there have been a number of studies that have proved that spending time in woodlands can have a therapeutic effect on a persons well-being by reducing levels of cortisol (the stress hormone.) (Ulrich, 1986; Robinson, 1992; Curtis et al., 2002)  It soon became apparent that this very special environment could enrich the health and wellbeing of a number of vulnerable groups. From 2012 and after extensive staff training and further certifications such as Suffolk County Council’s Triple r’s rating, Eden-Rose Coppice Trust built on its core values and visions to include the aim of vastly improving the mental and physical health of children and adults with disabilities or other additional needs, alongside those requiring palliative care.  One head teacher from a local special educational needs school stated that: ‘Eden-Rose Coppice Trust provides not only a haven of tranquility for those seeking some precious respite but also has created a wonderful and very special opportunity for our young people to recognise that they have something to offer others by way of time, effort and commitment.’ (Jan Aries – Head teacher)

Eden-Rose Coppice Trust is a registered Charity No: 1122514


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£10 or more

£10 Reward

The knowledge that you have helped many species of wildlife and children and adults with disabilities.

£25 or more

£25 Reward

Entry into our prize draw to win a very special prize. This award will entitle you to one ticket (entry) We will pick one lucky winner at the end of our 8 week crowdfunding period. Please leave your contact details so we can let you know if you have been the lucky winner.

£50 or more

3 of 15 claimed

£50 Reward

An invitation for 2 adults to our outdoor pizza party in the summer. Food, drink and activities free. Children welcome - £3 per child paid on the day (under 3's free). This will be at our wheelchair friendly woodland retreat in Sudbury, Suffolk. We will contact you with directions and details for food allergies nearer the time. Please remember to leave your contact details.

£50 or more

£50 Reward

Entry into our prize draw to win a very special prize. This award will entitle you to two tickets (entries). We will pick one lucky winner at the end of our 8 week crowdfunding period. Please leave your contact details so we can let you know if you have been the lucky winner.

£75 or more

£75 Reward

Entry into our prize draw to win a very special prize. This award will entitle you to three tickets (entries). We will pick one lucky winner at the end of our 8 week crowdfunding period. Please leave your contact details so we can let you know if you have been the lucky winner.

£100 or more

£100 Reward

Entry into our prize draw to win a very special prize. This award will entitle you to four tickets (entries). We will pick one lucky winner at the end of our 8 week crowdfunding period. Please leave your contact details so we can let you know if you have been the lucky winner.

£100 or more

1 of 10 claimed

£100 Reward

We will plant a very special tree within our woodland for you to come and visit. We will send you seasonal updates of your tree including; growth rates, first leaf drop and first flower with photo's of it and the wildlife that is thriving of it. This can be planted at either our Sudbury or Ipswich woodland.

£150 or more

£150 Reward

SPECIAL DEAL: Entry into our prize draw to win a very special prize. This award will entitle you to SIX tickets (entries). We will pick one lucky winner at the end of our 8 week crowdfunding period. Please leave your contact details so we can let you know if you have been the lucky winner.

£250 or more

0 of 5 claimed

£250 Reward

This reward will give you private access to our beautiful Sudbury woodland this summer. With a pizza oven lit, bonfire, children's activities set up, running water, toilet, slack lines, den building, bug hunting, wildlife watching, bushcraft activities.... too many activities to name. On a date to suit you. (Weekends only) Maximum 25 people

£500 or more

0 of 10 claimed

£500 Reward

Private access for a day in the woods for up to 10 people (Not the same as spending a day at your local wood.) Facilities include: Wheelchair friendly paths Accessible toilets Fresh running water Bonfire area to cook on-huddle around. Pizza oven (ingredients supplied free to make and cook your own pizza's) Den building mud kitchen Indoor room with log burner Woodland library - with hammocks to relax and read Story telling area with puppets + more

£500 or more

0 of 2 claimed

£500 Reward

A very special children's bushcraft style party for up to 15 children. This will be at our Sudbury woodland. All food, drink and activities provided. Please note all our staff and volunteers are DBS checked and we hold all relevant policies.

£500 or more

0 of 2 claimed

£500 Reward

A very special adult bushcraft style party for up to 10 adults. This will be hosted at our Sudbury woodland. Drinks, food and activities provided We have all relevant policies.

£25 or more

1 of 1 claimed

£25 Reward

This is a voucher for food and drink at Ipswich's top cafe-bar - Cult Cafe in Ipswich, Suffolk. Top food, Suffolk beer and cider, amazing entertainment. University of Suffolk students and UCS employees' 20% discount does not apply with this voucher.

£30 or more

1 of 1 claimed

£30 Reward

A meal for 2 at The Henny Swan. This is a great deal for a very tasty meal for two at an exquisite river side pub and restaurant in Suffolk. Location: The Henny Swan Henny Street Great Henny Sudbury CO10 7LS This entitles you to a meal for 2 (up to £30). Drinks not included. Their amazing menu can be found here:

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