Deadline looms for nature reserve bid
5:30am Saturday 4th January 2014 in By Emma Lidiard
THE clock is ticking for campaigners who are trying to raise thousands of pounds to safeguard Wroughton’s nature reserve for future generations.
Villagers are attempting to collect £30,000 to repay Swindon Council for a loan it gave to help buy Kings Farm Wood and save it from potential development.
The local authority pledged £100,000 to go alongside the loan to Wroughton Parish Council. The remainder of the cost of buying the ground was covered by a £50,000 pledge by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.
Since mid-2013, the parish council, with help from enthusiastic residents, has raised around £16,000 but only has three months left to collect the remaining £13,400.
To help them reach their target, they have arranged a ‘mile of money’ event on January 25. People will be asked to lay down as many coins as they can spare to stretch along High Street, beginning at the Ellendune community shop and running along to the Willow Brook Gardens.
“It’s an incredibly important cause,” said Jane Lane, one of the leaders of the campaign.
“People have no idea how little woodland we actually have left. People talk about saving the rainforests – this is our equivalent.
“The wood allows wild flowers to grow and offers a habitat for all sorts of animals. It really is marvellous and I would encourage everyone to support us.”
Kings Farm Wood links Clouts Wood and Markham Banks nature reserves to Diocese Meadows and the southern edge of Wroughton.
Jane said she hoped if the village did miss its deadline in March that the borough council would allow them extra time.
“I really have no idea how it works but I hope they will be able to see how much community support it does have,” she said.
Other events in the pipeline to raise funds include a series of quizzes at different pubs across the village.
Wroughton Parish Council chairman Paul Hurst said he had been overwhelmed by the amount of public support the project has attracted.
“People have been coming in dropping off £10 notes, £20 notes – one gentlemen even donated £1,000,” said Coun Hurst. “I will be donating a yard of coins to the event. We are hoping lots of people will come down and donate.
“Lots of people use the woods, whether its dog walkers or just people who want to get back into nature.”
Cash or cheque donations can be made at the Parish Office. Cheques should be made payable to ‘Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’. Alternatively, donate online at www.wiltshirewildlife.org.