We have now completed the purchase, and are the proud owners of Weston Woods!
To coincide with completion of the purchase, and to celebrate our ownership, we are launching an online Auction to raise money to pay back the loan we are borrowing. The Auction is running from NOW until Sunday 10th December 2023.
You can help us by donating items or promises of services to auction off, and also by bidding enthusiastically for items from the site.
To find out more about the Auction, visit the Auction page using this button.
To fill in details of what you are donating, go directly to the Auction Form by clicking the button below:
To go to the Auction site and bid, click the button below. You will be asked to register first:
Update on the acquisition process
28th June 2023: The legal process of acquiring the woods has been drawn out due to a complicated Title and the need to have the Title registered with the Land Registry before we buy it. However, we are on the point of exchanging contracts. It may still be some time before completion occurs, as we will need the Land Registry to act before we take possession. We will update this page as soon as we have more information.
Thank you for your patience, and we look forward to being able to get to work in the woods. Any Sponsored Square Certificates will be valid for a year from the date we actually own the woods, and we will contact you if you want to renew them from that date. If you would like to sponsor a 3×3 Square(s), for yourself or as an unusual gift, please use the button above.
East Wood, Weston, near Otley (known locally as Weston Woods) is nearly 20 acres of mature mixed deciduous woodland, alive with wildlife including red kites, goldcrests, tree creepers, warblers, woodpeckers and tawny owls. Oak, birch, beech, elder and sycamore are underlain by bluebells, wild garlic, brambles and other woodland flowers.
Over 1500 people have supported the acquisition with donations so far, and from the comments left on the fundraising site it is clear that this area of woodland is beloved by a large number of people. Some children have even donated their pocket money. It is valued for the memories of playing there as children, the peace people find there, but also as a place where nature thrives. There is a growing understanding that mature woodlands like these are not only vital for the wonderful habitats they provide, but also play a really important part in holding and soaking up carbon, preventing the carbon dioxide adding to global warming.
The wood is being purchased in Spring 2023 by MANT as part of the Friends of Otley East Wood which is a collaboration with a number of local environmental and community groups including Otley 2030, Wildlife Friendly Otley, Wharfedale Naturalists, Addingham Environment Group, Climate Action Ilkley, Climate Action Menston, Protect Earth & Woodland Savers.
If you would like to sponsor a 3x3m square of the wood for a year, please visit the Sponsor Squares page.
Julia is an environmental campaigner, lawyer, philanthropist and ‘green innovation’ investor who uses her personal funds to enable charitable projects (including land acquisitions for nature restoration) to progress. She is kindly supporting our acquisition on the understanding that we will do all we can to reduce the loan from her needed at completion and then to pay back any loan she does provide as a priority. We can’t progress work on the site until the loan is repaid. Equally Julia can’t support the many projects which contact her weekly until her commitment to this project is substantially reduced.
We plan to hold East Wood for the community and nature, in perpetuity. In the short term, there will be some essential administrative and legal costs, managed by experienced civic sector leadership, and a portion of excess funds raised will be used to cover these. Any surplus raised would be used for ongoing woodland management projects at East Wood which may include improving pathways, removing invasive species, repairing dry stone walls, enhancing biodiversity (e.g. through coppicing, planting etc), welcome/information signs and tree management for public safety.
Please note that MANT gets more of your donation if you use Bank Transfer!
If you prefer to pay by cheque please make it out to “Menston Area Nature Trust” and send it to MANT, Willow Dene, Bradford Road, Menston, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 6ED.
If you would like to be kept up to date with events at the woods, please sign up to the email list (it is free) here.