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Derbyshire’s Young People’s Forest: help us create a beautiful place for people and wildlife

Picture the scene – a former opencast mine transformed into a haven for wildlife and people.

Almost 1.3 million people live within 20 minutes’ drive of the Mead site, in Heanor, Derbyshire, where our Young People’s Forest will take shape.

With your help we can complete the purchase of this fabulous 162 hectare site and begin to realise its amazing potential.

Transforming the landscape

Known to have belonged to the Vikings over 1000 years ago, the site has changed hands many times since. After beginning in the 18th century, coal mining only ended here in 2015. The scarred landscape has been restored to farmland with paths, fencing and the occasional pond, but though it’s now a green and pleasant contrast to its past appearance, the former mine is barren with low ecological value.

This blank canvas has much more to offer people and wildlife. Once we own the whole site, we’ll plant more than 250,000 trees to create thriving new woodland, fringed with hedgerows and scattered with biodiverse ponds, open spaces and swathes of glorious species-rich grassland.

Evidence of water voles has been seen at Mead (Photo:

We hope this transformation will significantly increase the number and range of wildlife. There is already evidence of badgers and water voles, and surveys show more than 40 types of bird and five bat species.

Trees are a key weapon in the fight against climate change too, cooling our planet, filtering our air and locking up carbon.

Connected with neighbouring Shipley Country Park and Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s Woodside Farm, visitors could enjoy more than 500 hectares of wildlife friendly and publicly accessible land.

Young people will be involved to help design and plan the new wood (Photo: WTML)

A wood with children and young people at its heart

The Young People’s Forest is a fantastic opportunity to inspire the younger generation on a massive scale. We want children and young people to really engage with the project and feel that the wood is truly theirs. Once the site is in our care, great things will begin to happen.

This special place will become a giant outdoor classroom for children and young people aged 10-20. They’ll be involved right from the start, planting trees, learning about nature and designing, delivering and taking part in activities. It will be life changing.

You can help

We have already secured a quarter of the site and hope to raise the funds for the rest by the end of June.

We are almost there thanks to funding from Pears Foundation, The Veolia Environmental Trust, Biffa Award, Nationwide Building Society, a gift from a generous supporter, and the Pears #iwill Fund, a joint investment from the National Lottery Community Fund, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Pears Foundation, supporting the goals of the #iwill campaign.

But to totally fulfil our vision will cost £4.7 million – and we still need to raise a further £705,000.

Please help us turn our vision into reality and donate what you can today. Every pound given will bring us closer to turning this bare land into a thriving and beautiful landscape for people and wildlife.

Want to donate?

Whatever you choose to give, donating online is secure, quick and cost effective, so more money goes directly to the Mead appeal.