Future of ancient woods secured by fundraising

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AN APPEAL is continuing today to buy the final 26 hectares of Greno Woods - the last piece in the jigsaw of securing the future of one of Sheffield’s biggest woodlands.

The Wildlife Trust for Sheffield and Rotherham launched a campaign to raise £1 million to buy Greno Woods and turn it into a wildlife haven.

Thanks to a donation from Viridor Credits Environmental Company, the charity has secured enough funding to buy the largest area of the woods which has been held in trust by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation for 18 months.

Cathy Slater, head of development at the Wildlife Trust said: “The purchase of 143 hectares of the woods is now underway and should be complete by the end of March.

“It is quite a landmark for us as this is the first nature reserve we will actually own, rather than lease.

“The response has been amazing and it’s wonderful to hear so many stories about why this beautiful woodland has such a special place in people’s hearts.”

Lisa Nelson, manager of Viridor Credits Environmental Company, said the future of the woods was now secured ‘for the enjoyment of current and future generations’.

But the appeal is now continuing to buy the rest of the site - a final 26 hectares.

Work carried out so far by the trust and volunteers has included thinning trees to allow more light to reach the forest floor, encouraging growth of wildflowers and shrubs.

Staff will repair and upgrade footpaths and bridleways, replace coniferous trees with native species, cut back bracken and birch which is growing on rare and valuable heathland habitat, and run a programme of public events to encourage people to learn more about the woodland.

Other funders of the project include the Banister Charitable Trust, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the JG Graves Charitable Trust, Marjorie Coote Animal Charity Trust and the Sheffield Town Trust.

Events include a bluebell walk on Saturday, April 14, from 10am to noon, the Steel City downhill mountain bike race on Saturday, April 21, and Prof Mel Jones leading a woodland walk on Sunday, May 20, 2pm to 4pm.