Smithills Estate Appeal
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The fire on Winter Hill in Bolton has now spread to Smithills and the first trees planted as part of the Northern Forest. We are working closely with the emergency services to try and halt the blaze but are sorry to report there will be devastating consequences for the land and wildlife there which may take many years to recover from. We will only know the full extent of the damage once the fire has been extinguished.
Thanks to the fantastic generosity of thousands of Woodland Trust supporters, the entire Smithills landscape in North Bolton is now under our ownership and protection. 1,700 acres of open countryside, streams and woodland now make up our largest site in England.
Our public appeal saw high support from local people in the Bolton and Greater Manchester area. Together with supporters from across the UK, over £250,000 was raised in the run-up to Christmas 2017, along with confirmation of a £400,000 grant from Biffa Award (part of the Landfill Communities Fund) towards buying the final part of Smithills. We are delighted to have been able to complete the purchase.
As well as public donations, other crucial supporters include Heritage Lottery Fund and Viridor Credits.
The new land includes Barrow Bridge, a woodland area of steep cloughs and streams. The trees here are part of an ancient woodland area which is not only locally important, but nationally crucial too. This is a vibrant habitat for wildlife and contains several historical features, such as the 63 Miners’ Steps which local miners used to climb to work up on the moorland in the nineteenth century.
Our 2016 bioblitz helped us to identify hundreds of species resident at Smithills (Photo: WTML)
The journey continues
Following 2017’s grant of £1.9 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (the largest HLF donation we have ever received), a five year long project of restoration and development can now begin and there’s a host of exciting plans afoot.
We aim to revitalise this landscape, including everything from the moorland fringe to the lowland woodland. Habitats will receive expert management to provide a better quality home for thousands of animals, plants and fungi. New social enterprises will be encouraged to set up on-site, inspiring a renewed economy and there’ll be a range of events and activities to get involved in too.
During the project, we’ll plant 130,000 new trees. This will create connecting corridors for wildlife and a fantastic opportunity for local people to do something positive for the environment.
The story of Smithills' revitalisation is only just beginning and we’re committed to the estate’s restoration and vital long term care.
Support us today and play your part in Smithills' revival
The estate is a home for wildlife including lapwing, curlew and common lizard.
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A space for people2
Under our ownership, public access will be protected and enhanced for everyone.
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Make a donation3
Donate today to play your part in Smithills' transformation.