Friends of Teazle Wood has made a bid for funding through Aviva with volunteers from “all walks of life” coming forward to help protect the woodland
A community group formed to save woodland in Leatherhead has successfully registered as a charity.
Friends of Teazle Wood has announced the founding of the Teazle Wood Trust, coinciding with a bid it has made for funding through Aviva.
The area was marked as ‘land with strategic development potential’, however Lucy Quinnell did not want the land to be lost, and launched a campaign called ‘Save Teazle Wood’ which has raised more than £300,000.
“Volunteers from all walks of life came forward to help, as the project blossomed,” Ms Quinnell said.
“Young and old, rich and poor, working or studying or retired or unemployed, botanists, zoologists, bat experts, lichen experts, archaeology enthusiasts, IT specialists, artists and writers. Expertise the community never knew it had was suddenly evident, and friendships were made as everyone rallied.
“Those who quietly valued the extraordinary flora and fauna were delighted when their hunches were confirmed, that this gem of a site hosted a wide array of endangered species.
“From great crested newts and green hound’s-tongue to a world first fungus species and rare bechstein’s bat, the landscape responded to the community’s interest with positive revelation after positive revelation.
“The project is thriving, a strong, broad venture that connects diverse groups, organisations and individuals with brilliant results.”
The group has said the wood is facing very ‘real challenges’, including threats to the greenbelt on the borders of the woodland, litter, drug abuse on the site, and vandalism.
“Areas of the wood off the public footpath are currently too dangerous to confidently allow groups to come and learn, although in the past the adjacent special educational needs school and secondary school have both used the wood unofficially, and the potential for educational benefit is obvious,” Ms Quinnell said.
“The Teazle Wood Trust has therefore designed a specific project within the whole and is seeking funding from the Aviva Community Fund for the development of a special glade for educational activity.
“The Teazle Wood Safe Glade Project aims to work with experts and the community to create a safe area close to the schools, a broad ecological resource for educational activity.
“Offers of physical help have come from Surrey Wildlife Trust, Leatherhead Rotary, Lower Mole Project and our own volunteers. Unilever, Wates and Tesco have all helped practically with the Teazle Wood projects to date, and will be assisting again.
“The bulk of the work will be carried out by volunteers but funding is required for professional tree surgery, professional task leadership, skip hire to clear a century of debris from the zone concerned, illustrated signage to enhance community learning and natural fencing and hedging to deter anti-social users.”
The project has more than 2,400 votes for the Aviva funding, which closed on Saturday (May 30).