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Smithills Estate Appeal

We faced one of our largest ever incidents in summer 2018 when the top of the Smithills Estate became engulfed by the Winter Hill fire. The estate was seriously damaged. It is open to visitors again, but people are encouraged to take great care and be extra vigilant if visiting the area. 

Funding success 

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.

What’s new?

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.   

HLF logo

As this project is match-funded, we need your help to match what the Heritage Lottery Fund has provided. If you can help, please donate below, or call us on 0330 333 3300 quoting the code A17NP4GEN – this will make sure your generous donation goes directly to helping the Smithills Estate.

Want to donate?

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


Want to donate by post?

Simply download our offline form and pop it in the post to us, free of charge.