A lost world wooded habitat - home to wildlife gems such as the rare barbastelle bat and hazel dormouse – is now protected thanks to public support.
The Woodland Trust launched an appeal in autumn 2019 to raise the £1 million needed to take on part of Ausewell in Dartmoor, Devon - and donations came flooding in fast. It will now join the National Trust, who owns the other part of the site, in managing this important wildlife refuge.
Woodland Trust site manager Dave Rickwood said: “It’s very exciting that, thanks to the public’s help, we can complete the purchase of Ausewell Wood and start working with the National Trust to restore this valuable wildlife habitat. It means we can protect this 342 acre lost world with its rugged woodland, vast heath and damp temperate forest. Through our restoration work we will create crucial havens for endangered wildlife species, such as the shy hazel dormouse which nests in the trees and the rare barbastelle bat that roosts in forgotten medieval shafts. Nationally important lichen communities can continue to thrive in the pure atmosphere.”
The two charities have plans to carefully managing the non-native conifer areas to allow nature to recover. This will allow plants and trees from former woodland species to recover and re-colonise the ancient woodland areas, thus supporting a range of climate threatened wildlife.