From: Amanda Peters [newmoonvirgin_at_yahoo_dot_co_dot_uk]
Sent: 19 June 2007 11:38
Subject: Urgent Appeal - Brede High Woods, Sussex
Brede High Woods is a large complex of ancient woodland and heathland located in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Steeped in history, these magnificent woods lie just 5 miles north east of the famous town of Battle in East Sussex.

These beautiful woods are exceptionally diverse. A designated Site of Nature Conservation Interest, the area comprises a remarkable mosaic of wildlife habitats ranging from ancient and ghyll woodland to open heathland. The Woodland Trust has been offered the opportunity to purchase 649 acres of these incredible woods, which would make this our largest site in England.

Rich in wildlife

Important for biodiversity at both a regional and national level, this site is home to an astounding variety of threatened and unusual species. The numerous streams and ponds support creatures such as brook lampreys and great-crested newts, whilst spotted flycatchers and hobbys hunt along the woodland edges.

The area’s exceptional conservation value is emphasised by the presence of wild boar and even a leaf beetle previously thought to be extinct in the UK!

A remarkable landscape

Within this complex landscape are areas of heathland, one of the UK’s most precious habitats. Today a high conservation priority, sadly much of this heath was once planted with non-native conifers, which are currently suppressing rare floral species as dodder, greater broomrape and heath dog violet. Through a gradual approach we want to restore this irreplaceable habitat, strengthening biodiversity and enabling this remarkable landscape to flourish.

Steeped in History

As far back as the Roman and Iron Age periods, these woods have played an important role in iron working. The area was at the centre of the medieval iron smelting industry, with Brede Furnace operating in the 17th century immediately to the south of the present reservoir entrance.

Traces of this historic past can still be seen today. Hornbeam and alder provided a vital source of charcoal, and many coppiced trees are still prolific throughout the woods alongside distinctive saucer-shaped bell pits and boundary banks. There is even a wonderful sunken lane that has been used by people for centuries.

We urgently need your help

This varied history has helped to shape the landscape into the magnificent and rich complex we see today. However, sensitive management is crucial to ensure each precious habitat reaches its full potential. We are desperate to protect this extraordinary site, but we urgently need your help. Purchasing land in this area is exceedingly difficult, and to secure such a large quantity we must act now.

Through this appeal we need to raise £750,000 in the next 12 weeks. If successful, this will be our largest site in England but time is very much against us. If we fail to raise sufficient funds, this irreplaceable woodland could go on the open market to be sold in lots to the highest bidders.

Please help by sending a donation today. Your rapid response is vital to our success and the funds raised though this appeal will be used solely to acquire and protect this unique piece of woodland heritage.

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