Welcome to Avoncliff Wood. We are on the southern end of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, just on the banks of the River Avon.

Back in 2018 Avoncliff Wood came up for sale. It was actually in private ownership by a family. We launched a big funding appeal essentially which was successful and thanks to gifts and wills and the appeal itself we managed to fundraise not only for the wood but also for 25 years worth of budget for a project to enable us to do new innovative and experimental things. Because a third of everything we do at the Woodland Trust is funded by gifts and wills.

So we have 10 quadrats in the wood where we're monitoring the effects of ash dieback which is actually killing quite a few trees across the whole of the country. And as the canopy changes we can see how that changes and affects both the ground flora and also how the bats, the butterflies, the invertebrates -- everything in the wood from dormice to snails even we're surveying and seeing in each of those ten quadrats whether they change whether they get better or whether they get worse as the canopy dies and the whole woodland climate kind of changes. So it's a unique living laboratory.

The woodland creation side of the project at Avoncliff Wood is about expanding the woodland. That's through using natural regeneration and also using planting. And the planting -- every tree that goes into the ground (and we plant native broadleaf trees) are all sheltered to protect them from deer, rabbits and voles and those shelters are usually made of plastic. But this project we didn't really want to use any plastic so we're actually trialling biodegradable alternatives made from cardboard, paper, plant starch, lactic acid, even cashew nut shell resin and British wool. So we've got this amazing trial project to at least 12 different biodegradable alternatives so we can get away from plastic into the future.

Avoncliff Wood is both the people and for wildlife. So the whole woodland creation side and all the fields that we also bought are now open to the public. People can walk their dogs there, they can come out for picnics, we've got picnic benches, we've got boardwalks and we've got new paths for people to be able to enjoy. And we've also planted a community orchard. And the community orchard is planted with West Country apples, lots of different wild and weird varieties and that way all the locals and schools can all come out and forage and pick their own apples every autumn.

Should you choose to leave a gift in your will, no matter what size, it will help us protect woods like this for years to come and help us plant even more for future generations.

Leave a lasting legacy

Make a difference for woods, wildlife and generations to come by leaving a gift in your will. Even the smallest gift will support our vital work.

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