Donors, volunteers and supporters of The Greensand Trust’s Shire Oak Heath Appeal took part in a guided walk with a difference at the weekend - not only did they tour the heathland restoration areas now within Rushmere Country Park, but they also got to play a hands-on role in the restoration of the site.

The event celebrated the purchase of the area of neglected scrub and thanked those who have contributed to the Appeal.  The site has been secured thanks to funding from the Central Bedfordshire Council’s Green Infrastructure Planning Obligations Fund along with donations from generous local people. 

The Appeal now has three months left to run, with £43,000 of the £50,000 target secured, including further grants from Biffa Award, the Heritage Lottery Fund through the Greensand Country Landscape Partnership, the Wixamtree Charitable Trust and the Peter Smith Charitable Trust.

Gillian French, Head of Grants for Biffa Award said: “We can’t wait to see how this scrubland is going to be transformed into a thriving habitat. It’s lovely supporting projects that make such a big difference to wildlife.”

Greensand Trust Chairman Peter Smith said: “We’d very much like to thank everyone who has contributed so far, making the purchase of this important site possible.  We’re now seeking to secure the funding needed to complete the restoration activities, improve cycle access around the site and ensure it can be restored to an attractive heathland with improved wildlife interest for local people to enjoy”.

Peter was joined by the event participants at Shire Oak Heath in spreading locally sourced heather seed on a recently prepared part of the site.  It is hoped that the first new heather plants will germinate later in the summer, and these will develop into an area of vibrant heathland with species like green tiger beetles and woodlark hopefully returning.

To donate to the Shire Oak Heath Appeal and help complete the Trust’s vision for the site please visit www.greensandtrust.org