Ausewell Wood – the lost world that needs your help
We began something special when we joined forces with the National Trust to buy Fingle Woods in Devon. Since then this fledgling partnership has taken flight and now, six years on, we've been handed a fantastic opportunity to strengthen it further by working together to buy Ausewell Wood.
Ausewell is close to the small Devon town of Ashburton, one of the gateways to Dartmoor. The river Dart runs along its western edge and the north-eastern section of wood starts as a level plateau before dropping steeply into the valley.
The sheer scale of Ausewell is incredible – it’s like a lost world, beautiful but raw and uncompromising: 342 acres of a wild, rugged mix of wood and heath with dramatic rocky outcrops, boulders and screes, dense woodland and damp temperate rainforest along the famous River Dart.
It’s also a real haven for some of the UK’s most precious and endangered wildlife. Here raptors perch on rocks and at least 11 of the UK’s bat species, including the rare barbestelle, roost in forgotten mine shafts. In the quieter fringes, the hazel dormouse snoozes peacefully in the trees.
Our vision for a lost world
We can’t miss this opportunity to bring such a historic and wonderful site back to life and let it achieve its full potential as a wildlife haven.
We estimate 160 acres of ancient woodland at Ausewell are in jeopardy after being clear-felled and planted with non-native conifers after the Second World War. The conifers prevent light reaching the delicate woodland floor.
By slowly removing them and allowing the light back in we can allow native species to take hold once more, which in turn will support a range of threatened wildlife.
Our part of Ausewell is being held in trust for us by a supportive foundation and only when we fully own it will we be able to open it to the public. We urgently need to raise £1 million to buy it – and if we can’t it will be put back up for sale and its delicate ecosystems could be lost forever. If additional funds are raised we guarantee that they will go towards our work across Devon, including the restoration of Ausewell Wood.