Weston Woods Community Purchase

by Menston Area Nature Trust in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Weston Woods Community Purchase

Total raised £5,175

raised so far

+ est. £1006.25 Gift Aid

63

supporters

The Weston Woods purchase for the community & nature is almost complete. Now we need to raise over £65k to repay the loan to buy the wood.

Project by Menston Area Nature Trust

We're still collecting donations

On the 25th September 2023 we'd raised £3,900 with 53 supporters in 70 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

East Wood, Weston, near Otley (known locally as Weston Woods) is nearly 20 acres of mature mixed deciduous woodland, alive with wildlife including red kites, goldcrests, tree creepers, warblers, woodpeckers and tawny owls. Oak, birch, beech, elder and sycamore are underlain by bluebells, wild garlic, brambles and other woodland flowers. 

Over 1500 people have supported the acquisition with donations so far, and from the comments left on the fundraising site it is clear that this area of woodland is beloved by a large number of people; some children have even donated their pocket money. It is valued for the memories of playing there as children, the peace people find there, and also as a place where nature thrives. There is a growing understanding that mature woodlands like these are not only vital for the wonderful habitats they provide, but also for the important part they play in holding and soaking up carbon, mitigating the release of carbon dioxide which adds to global warming.

The wood is being purchased for the Friends of Weston Woods which is a collaboration with a number of local environmental and community groups including Otley 2030, Wildlife Friendly Otley, Menston Area Nature Trust (MANT), Wharfedale Naturalists, Addingham Environment Group, Ilkley Clean River Group, Climate Action Ilkley, Climate Action Menston, Protect Earth, Yorkshire Rewilding Network & Woodland Savers. MANT will be the legal purchaser on behalf of the groups and community.

Acquisition of this site was made possible by a philanthropic loan from Julia Davies, through her Funding Nature Project. We need to raise more money in order to repay this loan.

Julia is an environmental campaigner, lawyer, philanthropist and ‘green innovation’ investor who uses her personal funds to enable charitable projects (including land acquisitions for nature restoration) to progress. She is kindly supporting our community purchase on the understanding that we will do all we can to reduce the size of the loan at completion and then to pay back any money she does provide as a priority. We can’t progress work on the site until the loan is repaid. Equally Julia can’t support the many projects which contact her weekly until her commitment to this project is substantially reduced.

We plan to hold East Wood for the community and nature, in perpetuity. In the short term, there will be some essential administrative and legal costs, managed by experienced civic sector leadership, and a portion of excess funds raised will be used to cover these. Any surplus raised would be used for ongoing woodland management projects at East Wood which may include improving pathways, removing invasive species, repairing dry stone walls, enhancing biodiversity (e.g. through coppicing, planting etc), welcome/information signs and tree management for public safety.

14th July 2023: The legal process of acquiring the woods has been drawn out due to a complicated Title and the need to have the Title registered with the Land Registry before we buy it. However, we are at the point of exchanging contracts. It may still be some time before completion occurs, as we will need the Land Registry to act before we take possession. We will update this page as soon as we have more information.

Thank you for your patience, and we look forward to being able to confirm to you all that our community now owns and can enjoy the woods as well as protect them for our wildlife and for future generations.

Rewards

This project offered rewards

£25 or more

Sponsor a 3x3m Square!

Do you want to have a tangible stake in nature? Why not sponsor a 3x3m square in Weston Wood? Give some as gifts to grandchildren & friends. The entire wood has been split into squares which measure 3x3m. Each square has a precise What3Words address and can be sponsored for £25 each per year. After the first year the sponsorship can be continued, for £5/square/year. After donating fill in the form at https://mant.org.uk/sponsored-squares/

£95 or more

Get a Discount for Sponsoring four 3x3m Squares!

If you love nature, why not sponsor several 3x3m squares in Weston Woods? This is a wonderful gift for friends and family. The entire wood has been split into squares which measure 3x3m. Each square has a precise What3Words address and can be sponsored for £25 each per year. After the first year the sponsorship can be continued, for £5/square/year. After donating fill in the form at https://mant.org.uk/sponsored-squares/

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