Hazeland – Our First Land Purchase

Our First Purchase: Hazeland

In August 2020 we completed the purchase of Hazeland, a beautiful 34 acres in the Marden Valley between Chippenham and Calne. Both of these towns have been hit by floods in recent years and planting in the high catchment area helps protect all the other towns and cities downstream, including Melksham, Bradford-on-Avon, Bath and Bristol. This made Hazeland a perfect first purchase.

Within Hazeland there exist approximately 10 acres of ancient woodland which needs protection. We are likely to lose all the Ash trees which make up a significant percentage of the wood in the next few years, due to Ash Die Back.

The ancient woodland at Hazeland – photograph by Nikki Jones, May 2020

Over winter 2020/21 we planted 10,000 native broadleaf trees and shrubs across two enormous pastures, allowing space for glades and species rich grassland to flourish. Fifty orchard trees have been added for community benefit. A third field has had a shrub hedge planted around its border, but has otherwise been left to rewild.

Four acres of riverside meadow, which is already live and humming, is being managed to further enhance its habitat potential.

The riverside meadow – photographed by Kevan Wind, July 2020

We’ve commissioned several ecological surveys which indicate that Hazeland is the site for several rare and endangered species. There are also a number of recently recorded, near UK-extinct species that we hope to attract back to the land, including nightingales and some species of woodland butterflies. We want to enhance the current ‘habitat mosaic’ which is a mixture of scrubland, grassland, woodland and wet woodland.

We have worked closely with the Woodland Trust on the planting and long-term planning for the site, and they have provided almost all of the trees we have planted. We are extremely grateful to the Woodland Trust for all their expertise and generous support.

Thank you so much for your support!

We could not have bought Hazeland without hundreds of you giving your support. Together, public and small company donations contributed over £80,000, and without this, we would never have got the larger funding. So, huge thanks to everyone who had faith in us as a new start-up charity – you’ve helped create one wonderful, positive project.