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New nature reserve named after Laurie Lee

PUBLISHED: 16:17 26 June 2013 | UPDATED: 16:24 26 June 2013

Laurie Lee Wood, Slad Valley

Laurie Lee Wood, Slad Valley

Archant

Today, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust is celebrating the opening of its new nature reserve ‘Laurie Lee Wood’ in the Slad Valley

Laurie Lee Wood was officially opened today at 4pm (Wednesday, June 26 2013), which would have been Laurie’s 99th birthday, by his widow Kathy and daughter Jessy. The wood will be formally opened to the public on the anniversary of Laurie Lee’s birthday and a year ahead of planned centenary celebrations with a glass of cider (of course!) to toast this new nature reserve.

“Today’s event is about celebrating the joy of the natural world, and securing Laurie’s beloved woods for future generations to enjoy,” said Jessy Lee, Laurie Lee’s daughter. “My mother and I are delighted that this special part of our threatened valley is in now in such safe hands.”

The Trust received an outstanding response to its appeal to buy the woodland, once owned and loved by author and nature-lover Laurie Lee, back in January, receiving almost 1,000 donations. Laurie Lee Wood is a superb example of ancient woodland, over three hectares bursting with an abundance of native flora and fauna, including rare species such as white helleborine, with carpets of bluebells in spring and adjoining the Trust’s Swift’s Hill nature reserve.

“We have been overwhelmed by the public support we have received to help us purchase and secure this new nature reserve,” said Roger Mortlock, Chief Executive of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. “The Slad Valley is a magical place, made extra special for so many of us through Laurie Lee’s classic, Cider with Rosie. Thanks to the enduring appeal of his work, Laurie Lee draws visitors from all over the world. Exactly a year ahead of Laurie Lee’s centenary celebrations, this is a great way to demonstrate his contribution to this wild corner of the Gloucestershire countryside.”

Grundon Waste Management Chief Executive, Richard Skehens will be attending as Grundon kick-started the appeal by donating £5,000. This kind support will be recognised on the new engraved wooden welcome sign, which will also be unveiled on the day.

“We are delighted to have helped Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust to raise the money needed to safeguard this wonderful nature reserve,” said Richard Skehens, Chief Executive of Grundon Waste Management. “We’re very happy to continue to support the Trust in its work in Gloucestershire through the Landfill Communities Fund.”

Over 100 people who supported the appeal will be attending the event. They will be walking to the new reserve through the Trust’s Frith Wood nature reserve, led by Chief Executive, Roger Mortlock and Stroud Nature Reserves Manager, Pete Bradshaw. The walk will take in the beautiful views across the valley to the new reserve, before crossing the valley bottom to reach Laurie Lee Woods.

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