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Wildlife trust saves Balls Wood

The Hertfordshire and Middlesex Wildlife Trust (HMWT) has succeeded in its bid to buy Hertford's Balls Wood from the Forestry Commission.

In a campaign lasting over ten months, the Trust mobilised support from local people and organisations to raise £150,000 from local community groups and public donations necessary to unlock grants for the additional money needed to buy the wood.

Fundraising events included bird watching challenges, cake sales, sponsored stair climbs, runs and walks, pocket money donations, pub quizzes, guided walks, talks and garage sales.

Balls Wood is home to scarce butterflies, birds, plants and mammals, supporting wildlife as diverse as woodpeckers, badgers and tawny owls. The site had faced an uncertain future when its owners, the Forestry Commission, decided to sell the land.

HMWT chief executive Judy Adams said: "This is a fantastic result for the trust and for local people. It is also a very important achievement for the wider Hertfordshire community and the wildlife of this country.

"The wild spaces in and around Hertfordshire need protection if we are to provide vital corridors for wildlife to move between and to provide some safeguards against climate change, pollution, development and the many other threats facing it.

"If we had failed in our campaign to save Balls Wood, a vital wildlife haven would have been lost forever."

The trust has been managing the wood for the benefit of wildlife for several years, but has now secured its long-term future.

As reported in The Mercury, April 1, 2009.

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