Help us save Balls Wood!

The Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust makes a heartfelt plea for your help

REGULAR readers of this magazine will know that we have been campaigning to buy Balls Wood Nature Reserve near Hertford Heath for some months. This beautiful 58-hectare wood - just over 140 acres - is a fabulous place to visit and is packed with spring woodland plants, butterflies and dragonflies in summer and wonderful woodland rides to explore at any time of year.It has been offered to HMWT by its current owners the Forestry Commission, but we must raise �420,000 to buy it - and a further �280,000 to care for it into the future. Fundraising is extremely challenging in these times, and we are very grateful to everyone for their donations and efforts to date. Although we are pursuing grants and other forms of funding, we are still very concerned about the wood's future. If we do not manage to raise the money, the wood will still be sold but no one can guarantee that it will be sold to a buyer who will be sympathetic to the wood and its wildlife. Even more worryingly, access to the wood - currently enjoyed by every one of us - could be restricted and the woodland could be closed to visitors. The wood is also part of an important chain of woodlands stretching through Broxbourne, into Cuffley and Northaw and down to Potters Bar and the M25. If Balls Wood was sold and allowed to deteriorate, a vital corridor link would be lost and Hertfordshire's birds, butterflies and other wildlife would suffer. How YOU can helpBuy a Bird Feeder and Save our Wood!Riverside Garden Centre in Lower Hatfield Road, Hertford, has been backing our campaign to save Balls Wood through collections in store and also by donating �2 for every real Christmas tree they sold over the festive period. We're extremely grateful for their support so far and now they've come up with another way to raise money for the wood and to help garden birds too. February can be a hard month for garden birds, and it is vital to keep feeding them when sources of naturally available food (insects and plant seeds) are at their lowest levels. Putting out peanuts, seeds and fat balls now can help them through the cold weather and get them into peak condition before the start of the breeding season - from March onwards. Throughout February, Riverside is offering its wall and post mounted seed and peanut feeders (shown here) at a price of �4 each (normally priced at �7.99 each). Every penny of the price you pay for the feeders comes straight to our Balls Wood appeal. Drop in to the garden centre and start feeding the birds and saving a wood! For more information on Riverside Garden Centre visit up the Wood Week March 16 - 22 A whole week of events and activities is planned to celebrate the arrival of spring across Hertfordshire and to raise funds to purchase Balls Wood. We are looking for local groups and individuals to get involved and plan a 'Wake up the Wood' event. To plan your own Wake up the Wood event in your community, download our Community Fundraising Guide via or contact us on 01727 858901. Register your activity with us by 20 February and we'll add your event to our publicity material. Our staff and nature reserve wardens will be getting involved and we're hoping for all sorts of great ideas from you too. Ideas can include sponsored walks, slims, swims or coffee mornings, church collections, pub quizzes, school discos and dress down days at work or school. Businesses could make a donation based on the sale of certain products, or match the funds your employees raise during the week and publicise Wake up the Wood week to your customers. Our fundraising guide is full of ideas and pointers to get you inspired, but don't be restricted by our suggestions - we're keen to hear what you can do to 'Wake up the Wood'.To support our appeal please contact us at;Grebe House, St Michael's Street, St Albans AL3 4SN01727 858901 Email: visit any of our 47 nature reserves- including those mentioned on this page, or to find out about more about our work, contact Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust on 01727 858901, email or visit