Avon Needs Trees has purchased 422 acres of land between Bristol and Bath at Wick Farm, Compton Dando, with funding from Forest of Avon Trust, Triodos Bank and more than 1,000 people and businesses who gave to their crowdfunding campaign.

In February 2024, the charity launched an ambitious crowdfunding campaign to raise £100,000 in just six weeks to help buy the land that will become Lower Chew Forest. The campaign was hugely successful, raising over £171,000 with the support of more than 1,000 individuals, organisations, and businesses.

The site will be home to Lower Chew Forest, which when put together with adjoining woodland, will be bigger than the Downs and Leigh Woods in Bristol, and twelve times the size of Royal Victoria Park in Bath. The Lower Chew Forest will be part of the Forest of Avon Community Forest.

Dave Wood, Avon Needs Trees CEO, said: “The Lower Chew Forest will be the South West’s largest new woodland in a generation and one of huge significance to our region, particularly as we have just 7.8% woodland cover in the West of England, which is critically low compared to 13.2% average across the whole of the UK.”

Dave added: “Our plans to create a forest-sized woodland and complementary habitats over 422 acres will bring a huge range of benefits to nature and our communities, including helping to tackle the climate emergency, improving biodiversity connectivity and providing a place for people to volunteer, learn and connect with nature.

“We would like to give a massive thank you to everyone who has helped make the purchase of Wick Farm, and this landmark project, a reality.” DEFRA Forestry Minister Rebecca Pow MP said: “The new Lower Chew Forest will be the South West’s largest new woodland in a generation.

“More trees in Bristol and Bath mean more local green jobs, more wildlife, more nature recovery and greater access to nature for all. The success of this project will also contribute to the Government's ambitions to increase tree-planting across the country and meet net zero targets.”

Defra’s Nature for Climate Programme is funding England’s Community Forests to deliver the largest environmental regeneration programme in the country.

Whilst their Crowdfunder has now closed, Avon Needs Trees are still seeking longer term individual and business partnerships to help them purchase the trees and establish the new woodland habitats. You can find out more on their website at: https://avonneedstrees.org.uk