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If you are a member of GWT and would like to add your signature to this letter, please provide your information in the boxes at the bottom of the page below the letter. Refresh your browser to see that your signature has been added.

We thank you for your support.

Andrew McLaughlin 

CEO

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust

 

October 2023
 


Dear Andrew McLaughlin

 

Protecting rare and sensitive local habitat

 

We are a group of GWT members who are extremely concerned about a major threat to the future Slad Valley Nature Recovery Zone and the wildlife within it; we are also concerned that over the last 6 months GWT has remained virtually silent on the issue and has not engaged with our concerns. The threat concerns a wonderful area of rare limestone grassland known as Juniper Hill Field, directly next to the GWT reserve at Frith Wood.

 

This letter is to ask GWT as strongly as possible to start taking proactive steps to defend the Slad Valley Nature Recovery Zone, which is one of GWT’s priority zones, and to work with us to ensure that this precious grassland is not irretrievably ruined.

 

The issue relates to the fact that the land was purchased by Woodland Investment Management Limited (or more commonly known as Woodlands.co.uk) and its CEO Angus Hanton two years ago. They have split the site into five four acre plots; their business model has a track record in other parts of the country of selling to any buyers, who are most unlikely to conserve the field in the appropriate way. 

 

We have launched this Open Letter to Angus Hanton, CEO of Woodland Investment Management Limited asking him to collaborate with concerned local residents to manage this grassland appropriately for long term conservation.  This would entail suspending his current plans to partition the land and either selling to NE or agreeing a management contract with a conservation organisation in order to maintain the regime of light grazing needed (please see technical note below).  The Friends of Juniper Hill Field are also in touch with   Stroud District Council which has requested to work with GWT to protect this important grassland.  They also have full support from CPRE in this campaign.

 

We are asking GWT to make a public statement on the importance of this field and the surrounding area and the critical importance of effective management of the field, and would like to request the following three points:

  1. That a public statement acknowledges that Juniper Hill Field’s future is critical to GWT’s management of Slad Valley Nature Recovery Zone including Frith Wood. At present ownership of the field includes access rights through Frith Wood and an increase of leisure traffic of five potential owners would seriously undermine the peace of this popular starting point for the famous Laurie Lee trail. It could also damage the trees protected by the SSSI designation.  

  2. That the public statement acknowledges that a crucial aspect of appropriate management of calcareous grassland is light grazing, and given the partitioning of the land and in due course five potential owners, this would not be feasible.  A number of experienced conservationists and ecologists agree that Juniper Hill Field needs a management regime used in other nature reserves (Swift Hill, Snows Farm, Bulls Cross, Painswick Beacon, Juniper Hill).

  3. That GWT meets with us to discuss a shared programme of action to defend the field.

(Please see attached a technical note by Kate Gamez, former senior reserve manager of Cotswold Commons and Beechwood NNR, who has had intimate knowledge of the field for the past decade)

 

We look forward to discussing this at the AGM and engaging with your team further later. 

Photo of the 8th October walk on Juniper Hill Field in support of the campaign

Best wishes,

Sophie

Jacobs

GL6 7QU

John

Heathcott

GL51 9QN

Mark

Hewlett

GL5 2HS

Will

Mercer

GL5 1QJ

Deborah

Roberts

GL5 2HS

Graham

Tennant

GL5 4QH

Peter

Moseley

GL6 7RA

Paul

Baxter

GL6 6QS

Diana

Carey

Gl6 7LA

Nick

Berry

GL67LA

Georgina

Dyer

GL6 7QT

Ruth

Bowers

GL5 1SX

Paul

Holley

LN7 6NZ

Peter

White

GL67QU

Sandy

Elgar

Gl6 6SE

Edward

Elgar

GL6 6SE

Susan

Harker

GL51SX

Simon

Robey

GL6 6SE

Madeleine

Bunting

GL6 6SE

Paul

Tavener

GL51UQ

Paul

Tavener

GL51UQ

ALAN

SHEARER

GL6 6UH

Geoffrey

Stephenson

GL6 7QU

Sarah

Stephenson

GL6 8DA

Sally

Brooks

GL5 1US

Denise

Ward

GL6 7 LA

Richard

Hatfield

GL5 1RE

Frankie

Duggan

GL5 1RE

Helen

Elliott

GL51UN

Julian

Foxon

GL11 5AQ

Helene

O’Driscoll

GL53NF

Henry

ODriscoll

GL5 3NF

Paul

Ryan

GL6 7RA

Linda

Keefe

GL6 0RZ

Steve

Lee

GL6 7LR

Carrie

Pohlhammer

92651

Erin

Engman

91403

Simon

McBurney

GL5 1RJ

Cassie

Yukawa-McBurney

GL5 1RJ

Peter

Nightingale

GL5 1RP

Judith

Woods

CV34 6JW

Sue

Crawford

GL6 6TY

Ella

Skelston

GL6 6SE

Helen

Burgun

GL67QD

Gill

McGahan

GL6 6XX

Claudia

Lally

GL6 7QD

lindsay

Pugh

GL67QD

Marilyn and Hamish

Thomson

GL6 7RQ

Daphne

Tagg

GL6 7RL

Fiona

Walthall

GL6 7QT

Sue

Delaney

GL6 6SB

Madeleine

Bunting

GL6 6SE

Sachi

Hatakenaka

GL6 7QT

Debra

Drew

GL6 7QS

Nigel

Browne

GL6 7QS

Lord & Lady

Tyler

GL6 7QT

Amanda

Lawrence

GL67JY

Andy

Dickinson

GL67JY

Nick

Weir

GL5 1HF

Open Letter to Gloucester Wildlife Trust

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