Doubling the Impact of Donations for our Ancient Woodlands

Living Magazines Ancient woodland Astonbury Wood_3 © Frieda Rummenhohl

A fundraising appeal by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust to protect our ancient woodlands is being boosted by the Big Give in a match funding campaign where donations are doubled.

Between 20-27 April 2023 the local charity, which manages over 40 nature reserves across the region, is teaming up with the Big Give to raise a total of £12,500 to help protect and manage irreplaceable ancient woodlands across Hertfordshire and Middlesex. For that one week only, donations will be matched up to the campaign target, meaning that those giving will see their money doubled.

Ancient Woodlands are a special type of woodland that has been continuously wooded since at least 1600AD, providing a unique and undisturbed habitat. These woodlands are home to many rare, threatened and treasured species, they have the potential to support the highest diversity of species of any woodland type, but only with targeted restoration work. They also play a vital role in the fight against climate change by capturing and storing carbon.

In Hertfordshire, just 4% of woodlands are ancient and they are in desperate need of protection – once gone, they are gone forever. Across the different habitat types, woodland species are currently most at risk – 14% have already become extinct since 1970 and 35% have declined. Without traditional conservation management ancient woodlands are at serious risk – we also have a new and serious problem to address – Ash dieback. Caused by a fungus, this destructive disease attacks Ash trees and can lead to the death of the tree. This has a knock-on effect on other rare species that use the trees as their homes.

Speaking about the appeal, Sarah Rutherford, the Trust’s Fundraising Manager, said, ‘Woodlands are vital wild spaces for people and wildlife. With their sweeping Bluebell carpets, choirs of songbirds, streams and ponds, they provide a sanctuary to escape the pressures of everyday life and a haven for wildlife to thrive.

‘The funds raised by the Big Give appeal will help us to deliver a programme of traditional woodland conservation to protect our ancient woodlands. This will include activities such as removing scrub and invasive holly, creating rides and glades, as well as installing fencing and gates to direct visitors to the more robust areas within our nature reserves. We will also address the Ash dieback by cutting back the worst affected branches and trees to try and prevent further spread of the fungus.

‘We are so grateful to our champion funder, The Reed Foundation, and appreciate every single donation which will help us to carry out this work and to protect these ancient woodlands for future generations of wildlife and people.’

Support the Big Give and double the impact of your donation to help the Trust protect ancient woodlands by visiting from 20-27 April. You can also find out more about the appeal at