Langdyke Countryside Trust wants to buy a 23-acre area of land near Peterborough to use as a community nature reserve.
The organisation – a charity run entirely by volunteers in the local community – is looking for urgent financial support before the land is sold for other uses.
The trust fears other uses could damage its wildlife value and mean it would be lost to the local people.
Langdyke wants to create the new nature reserve adjacent to the Maxey Cut securing the future of Christ’s College Pits as a community asset for nature and local people. The area is within walking distance of Helpston, Maxey and Etton.
The Trust has launched a public appeal to raise approximately £7,500 to help with overall costs.
In total Langdyke needs to raise £50,520 to buy the land and improve it for the local community. To raise this amount grant-givers and charitable trusts are being approached.
The public is asked to donate using a JustGiving page:
Christ’s College, Cambridge has offered Langdyke the opportunity to purchase the freehold of the pits and given the organisation 12 months from this month ( October ) to raise the money.
The college has explained to the Trust through its agents that it has also received alternative offers for the land.
It has turned these down in favour of the option to sell to Langdyke and establish a nature reserve.
However, if the Trust cannot raise the price for the land within the 12-month period, the college would return to these offers.
Possible other uses for the land include commercial development or water abstraction- with the potential to damage rather than improve both biodiversity and access for local people.
The site is already rich in wildlife.
Langdyke chair Richard Astle, who lives in Helpston, said: “We want to create habitats for turtle dove and glow worm; homes for kingfisher, terns, and sand martin.
“And to increase the population of the rare four-spotted moth.
“Our plans include three new viewing points (two on the Cut and one from the footpath that runs along the eastern boundary of the site).
“From these people will be able to look out over the pits, offering the chance to see otters, terns, ducks, egrets and even the occasional osprey.
“Interpretation boards at each viewpoint will give details of what to see and of the heritage of the site, including its views across to Etton, Glinton and Helpston churches.”
He added: “We will raise the money to buy the site separately but need the support of the community to help us pay for the immediate management of the reserve, including the viewpoints and information boards.”
For donations or more than £500 Langdyke is offering the opportunity to name a feature of the reserve (such as the viewpoints or specific areas of the reserve) permanently, as a special gift or to commemorate a loved one.
For further details, please contact email@example.com
Langdyke is at the point of signing heads of terms to purchase the land on this basis and is now actively fund-raising to complete the purchase.
Richard added: “We’ve got a year to raise the cash … so please help us to do so.”
More information about the appeal is on the Langdyke website at langdyke.org.uk
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