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Big Green Match: Donations to Cambridge PPF doubled this week to help it look after thousands of new trees



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By Siobhan Middleton

A Cambridge charity is raising funds to maintain two expanded country parks, as part of its commitment to tackling climate change, improving biodiversity and providing space for people to enjoy the outdoors - and donations made this week will be doubled.

Cambridge Past, Present and Future (PPF), which will finalise its expansion of Wandlebury Country Park and Coton Countryside Reserve over the next few months, is raising money to ensure the trees planted and meadows created stay healthy and support wildlife.

Volunteers help Cambridge PPF plant new trees. Picture: Cambridge PPF
Volunteers help Cambridge PPF plant new trees. Picture: Cambridge PPF

Donations given between Friday, April 22 and Friday, April 29, 2022, will be doubled thanks to the Big Green Match, a UK-wide initiative supporting environmental charities. The goal is £5,000, so £2,500 needs to be raised during the week.

James Littlewood, CEO of Cambridge PPF, said: “We’re trying to tackle two global crises. We’re confronting the climate emergency by absorbing carbon and the biodiversity emergency by creating new habitats.

“We’re also aware that Cambridge’s population is growing rapidly – it has increased by 20 per cent in 20 years and is set to continue growing at that pace. So, our parks need to be bigger to cope with the numbers visiting us in twenty years’ time.

“We’ve carried out the initial work but ensuring the trees and meadows grow to maturity, absorb carbon and look fantastic for people to enjoy will take years and years of work.”

Donations during The Big Give will be doubled. Picture: Cambridge PPF
Donations during The Big Give will be doubled. Picture: Cambridge PPF

The charity hopes to open one part of Coton Countryside Reserve to the public in mid-May and the remaining area towards the end of June. The land for the park has been owned by Cambridge Past, Present and Future since the 1930s, but it has been used as farmland until now.

One section of Wandlebury Country Park should open to the public by the end of May. The charity plans to build a path around the larger meadow section in May, but it will be around two years before the field is mature meadow and people can walk on it.

Like Coton Countryside Reserve, Wandlebury Country Park was previously used as farmland. It was purchased by Cambridge PPF with the support of donors.

Ed Wombwell, manager of country parks for Cambridge PPF, said: “There has been a lot of planning to make sure the expanded areas benefit biodiversity as much as possible.

Ed Wombwell, manager of country parks for Cambridge Past, Present and Future. Picture: Cambridge PPF
Ed Wombwell, manager of country parks for Cambridge Past, Present and Future. Picture: Cambridge PPF

“It made perfect sense for the agricultural field to be converted to chalk grassland. We’ve lost about 98 per cent of our UK meadows post-war so they’re at risk – particularly chalk grasslands, which are only possible in sites where the geology is suitable.

“By planting trees that connect landscapes, we are ensuring habitats for woodland species are spread across the expanded parks.

“If you donate, you’ll be supporting a charity delivering results on your doorstep – and have the opportunity to visit the sites and view the biodiversity you helped fund.”

He added: “Over the winter, with the help of more than 200 volunteers we have planted 4,000 trees and created new areas of meadow.

Volunteers help Cambridge PPF plant new trees. Picture: Cambridge PPF
Volunteers help Cambridge PPF plant new trees. Picture: Cambridge PPF

“We are carrying out the finishing touches and we will soon be opening 25 acres of nature rich habitat for people to enjoy.

“Our work doesn’t stop there though, the new woodlands and meadows that we are creating will need our care if they are to be healthy and reach maturity. That means that they can soak up carbon from the atmosphere, support wildlife and bring joy to people. For example, new trees need to be weeded, watered and protected from grazing animals.

“As a charity we need to raise funds to carry out this important work and the Big Green Match is a great way for people to give because it means that their donation goes twice as far.”

A map of the expanded Wandlebury Country Park. Picture: Cambridge PPF
A map of the expanded Wandlebury Country Park. Picture: Cambridge PPF

The charity plans to plant a further 1,300 trees in the winter.

To support the campaign, visit https://donate.thebiggive.org.uk/green-match-fund-2022 by April 29 and search for Cambridge Past, Present & Future, or go straight to the fundraising page here.

Read more

Cambridge Past, Present & Future to plant 4,000 trees

The Cambridge Independent’s Plant a Tree Campaign: Help us get 10,000 trees planted across Cambridgeshire



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