We need your help to raise funds to restore the remains of neighbouring Shire Oak Heath and bring it all within Rushmere Country Park so we can restore it back to a thriving, well-maintained area of heathland.

Shire Oak Heath – an area of neglected heathland, now overgrown with Birch (approx. 7ha) which adjoins Rushmere - was once a thriving heathland, which extends into the park. The section of Shire Oak Heath which is now under our management at Rushmere has been restored to such a condition that Natural England recognised the restored area as part of an extended National Nature Reserve (NNR) of Kings Wood & Rushmere in 2016.

However, the unrestored area remains at risk, identified by Natural England as being in an unfavourable and declining condition, due to lack of management, and is now a neglected remnant of what was once a thriving heathland.

The current owners, recognising the work of The Greensand Trust to improve the surrounding area and habitats, have agreed to transfer the land to us on the understanding that we launch a public appeal to help raise the funds to secure the site and its restoration. 

The majority of the site has been designated as SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), excluding the Legion which is a separate freehold, recognised for its valued heathland, a rare and declining habitat, both nationally and locally. 

Our aim is also to manage and protect the access routes through the site to Rushmere, which offer an opportunity to provide an alternative safe cycle access to Rushmere via Thrift Road, rather than the currently promoted route along main Linslade Road. 

The Greensand Trust is launching this appeal in the hope that the local community and all those who enjoy Rushmere and value its conservation will support our attempt to secure this land and help us to reverse its decline so it can once again be regarded as a valuable heathland habitat in this area.