Good News on Fundraising for Seend

Huge thanks to the 139 of you who donated £7,239 (plus an estimated £1,352.25 in gift aid!) to our Crowdfunder campaign that closed last Friday. We smashed through our initial goal of £5,000 and got much closer to our stretch goal of £8,000 than we expected to! Thank you so much.

Also, while it hasn’t shown up in our crowdfunder total, we’ve noticed a distinct uptick in donations through our website. Huge thanks also to everyone who’s donated in this way!

But that’s not all the good news – We’ve also had a wonderful £10,000 from the team at Natracare. Very many thanks to them.

On top of all of that, we’ve also been offered the five acres that connects two of our fields (field 4 on the map below), making the site a more manageable shape and design. An exciting stretch goal for us!

Meanwhile, the report from our extended habitat survey at Seend is also back. Neill Talbot from Avellana Ecology has identified, as we suspected, some good meadow habitat for invertebrates, pollinators and many other species (we will improve these areas), plus good potential around the natural ponds and in the unmanaged hedgerows. The latter provide particularly good hibernation and refuge habitat.

We still have some way to go towards our fundraising goal, so please donate through our website if you can, and don’t forget our gift cards which allow you to buy square metres as presents (£2.50 buys us one square metre). We will do the sending for you. We aim to be in a position to buy the land by next Spring. 

Soon we will also have a selection of Christmas gift cards available! Thanks to Peter Marsh for letting us use this beautiful, wintery photo of a robin.

Biodiversity Surveys Continue

Many thanks to Richard Harris and Andy Grant from the Hawk and Owl Trust who came to survey and give us advice on the siting of owl boxes and on land management. Also to Doreen and John Bailey who came to do a follow-up fungi survey, now that we’re into wetter weather. Although they identified over 60 species, it appears we have relatively low levels of mycorrhizal fungi because of the amount of ash in the wood. Their thoughts on management will be fed into the mix, particularly on how we might diversify the species in the ancient woodland as the infected ash dies.

Richard Harris and Andy Grant from the Hawk and Owl Trust

Tours of Hazeland for Local Green Groups

On a wet and blustery Sunday in November we held a series of site tours for representatives of ‘green’ groups from across the catchment. This was an opportunity for us to to update some of our key supporters on the progress we are making in surveying for species, and to discuss our future plans. We were particularly pleased to be able to include local councillors and residents from Seend, the village were we are buying our next piece of land.

Many thanks to all who took part in the day. We plan to be running many more such events, although in the near future, all our attention is focused on winter tree works (to bring the ancient woodland back to good health) – and tree planting!

Avon Needs Trees Launch Event

On a beautiful September day, we officially launched Avon Needs Trees and celebrated our first land purchase – Hazeland. Wildlife presenter Miranda Krestovnikoff was there, wonderfully enthusiastic about all the wildlife potential, and she has pledged to come back, year on year, to see our progress.

Because of Covid, the event had to be limited to a small, socially distanced, number. However, we are planning many more thank you and activity events for our supporters, and we look forward to seeing many more of you on site over the coming months.

Huge thanks to Jez Toogood for filming and editing the above video, and to Kevan Wind for taking all of the pictures below.

Just Over A Week Left Of Our Crowdfunder To Help Buy Seend

Our crowdfunder campaign to help us buy 19 acres of land at Seend near Melksham will run until 1pm on Friday 30th of October. We’ve hit our initial target of £5000 but we’ve still got a long way to go to hit our stretch goal of £8000.

Please go to www.crowdfunder.co.uk/AvonNeedsTrees to donate whatever you can, and please share our campaign with your friends and family. Thank you!

New Gift Card

We’ve just launched a new gift card featuring pictures taken at the land at Seend by our fantastic volunteer photographer Kevan Wind. Every £2.50 buys us another square metre of Seend and we’ll send a gift card to the person of your choice, stating that you’ve bought a number of square metres for them. The minimum spend is £10 and you can find the form, and donation button, on our website.

We’re Hiring!

Avon Needs Trees is looking to hire a freelance project co-ordinator to work 21 hours per week to help us continue our conservation work across the Bristol-Avon catchment area.

We are entering a crucial, but very exciting time for our charity. With the purchase of Hazeland finally confirmed, volunteers and special interest groups eager to visit the site, and fundraising for our second land purchase at Seend just getting started, things are moving at a mile a minute. We need someone who is well organised, dependable, and enthusiastic about our goals to help us continue the work we’ve started.

For full details of the role and how to apply, go to avonneedstrees.org.uk/jobs and download the role brief at the bottom of the page.

Applications close at 5.30 on Friday October 2nd.

Good luck!

Seend – Avon Needs Trees’ Second Land Purchase

We have reached an agreement for our second land purchase – 19 acres of land at Seend near Melksham!

This new piece of land is just seven miles from Hazeland, the first piece of land we bought, and while it is slightly further from Bristol is still inside the high Bristol-Avon catchment area.

It is a site where we believe we can really add value. There are extensive mature hedgerows, standing dead wood and two natural pond areas. The land rolls down to the Kennet and Avon canal. The grass is not species rich and therefore very suitable for tree planting.

The land is already crossed by public footpaths and we look forward to making this a real community asset. We plan to plant a large woodland of native broadleafs and a substantial community orchard. We will leave meadow alongside the canal and create a flower-rich, accessible viewing point.

Full ecological studies have been commissioned but we already have anecdotal evidence of a decline in bird species in the area. The good news is that neighbours to this land have already begun tree planting and so our plans will build on their work, creating a substantial nature reserve.

We already have some funds we can put towards the purchase of Seend, and while we know most of the £175,000 needed will come from businesses, trusts and large donors, we still need your help. Today we launched a crowdfunder campaign – please visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/AvonNeedsTrees to read more about this project, donate if you can, and please share it with your friends, family, neighbours and other networks!

Every donation, big or small, not only gets us a little bit closer to buying this land, but also demonstrates support for our project, which is essential for accessing larger pots of money. Thank you!

We will be hosting a free open day at Seend for any Avon Needs Trees supporters to visit the land. If you’d like to know more, or have questions, come and take a look on Sunday 4th of October. Because of COVID we will need to stagger arrivals at the site, so please email contact@avonneedstrees.org.uk if you would like to attend.