Avon Needs Trees is buying land to plant and rewild, creating new, permanent woodland throughout the Bristol-Avon catchment area

Avon Needs Trees is a registered charity (No. 1184386) based in Bristol that is buying land in the Bristol-Avon Catchment Area for reforesting.

Planting trees will sequester carbon from the air, enhance biodiversity and provide natural flood management, as well as water and air quality improvement, and more public amenity space.

Beginning its life as an idea thought up by Bristol-based writer and activist on energy and climate change Nikki Jones, ANT now has a board of nine professional and dedicated trustees who bring invaluable experience. In August 2020 we completed our first purchase – 34 acres near Calne, Wiltshire.

We are supported by The Environment Agency, The Woodland Trust, The Bristol-Avon Rivers Trust, the local Wildlife Trust and the local Friends of the Earth groups.

Our Chair Nikki Jones gives a 5 minute introduction to ANTs to members of Bristol Inclusive Design & Development in December 2019.

Why Reforest?

Almost all of Avon’s woodland has disappeared over the last few centuries. This is disastrous for many reasons but perhaps most pressingly because trees are essential for tackling climate change. Trees take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and protect the valuable soil beneath. By growing thousands of new trees we can take a significant step in the battle against a climate disaster.

Reforesting Avon has multiple other benefits. It will provide natural flood management which is much more cost-effective than engineered flood defences. All of the towns and cities in the area, including Chippenham, Bath, Bradford-on-Avon and Bristol are greatly at risk of flooding, particularly as climate change advances.

Careful planting will also help enhance biodiversity and protect our water quality by reducing nitrogen runoff. In addition, land acquired will have open access to the public, providing valuable public space.

We believe buying the land is a much better way to get things done. Asking landowners to voluntarily make these changes does not provide long term, guaranteed results.

First Purchase

After nine months of hard fundraising, including a transformative contribution from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, we have been able to make our first land purchase – 34 beautiful acres at Hazeland between Chippenham and Calne.

Hazeland is a fragment of the ancient forest of Pewsham and crucially the land is close to Spye Park and the Bowood Estate. Spye Park is an important site for breeding woodland birds such as the buzzard, redstart, nightingale and tree pipet. Buying Hazeland gives us the opportunity to offer new and improved habitat to these endangered birds – as well as to several species of protected bat and woodland butterfly.

Planting more trees in the River Avon high catchment area, of which Hazeland is a part, will help stop excess water entering our river system. Such natural flood management will not only help protect nearby towns from flooding, but also cities and towns further downstream. It’s the most effective place to plant.

We Need Your Help

The money we raised ensured we could buy Hazeland and can maintain it for the next three years. However, there are still essentials such as fruit-bearing trees, compost loos and benches for Hazeland for which we still need to fundraise, plus we already have our eyes on our next land purchase – more details to come soon!

Please head over to our donate page if you would like to see our work continue. Thank you for all of your support and for sharing our page.

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