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Friday, 25 April 2014

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£1m appeal to save Cumbrian nature reserve

Cumbria Wildlife Trust needs to raise nearly £1 million to help secure the future of a nature reserve.

Michelle Waller photo
Michelle Waller

The trust wants to turn Eycott Hill, near Greystoke, into a new reserve as they say it boasts rare species and habitats, plus “great opportunities” for restoration after years of overgrazing.

It is launching a fundraising drive from tomorrow, with cash raised on the Big Give site during the next three days doubled by supporters if it reaches £18,500.

The site was identified as a potential reserve four years ago and bought on behalf of the trust for £968,000 thanks to funding from the Esmée Fairbairn Finance Fund.

The trust has to raise enough money to pay the money back over two years, or the land will go on sale on the open market.

“We now have until the end of 2014 to raise the money to pay back the money or Eycott Hill could be sold,” said Michelle Waller, senior development officer with the trust.

“It is an exceptionally rich area of upland heath in a spectacular location within the stunning scenery. The summit is a short walk from the road and has a majestic view of Blencathra.”

The land, which is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, is one of the oldest areas of former volcanic activity in the Lake District and has a number of rare plants.

The trust’s fundraising fight has been chosen by the Big Give Christmas Challenge as a project to support. This means that if they can raise £18,500 online, it triggers a further £18,500 from 16 Trust supporters and an anonymous Big Give supporter.

The website will open for donations at 10am tomorrow and stay open for three days.

“The challenge comes from the fact that the match fund on each day is limited and lots of charities are involved,” Michelle said. “We want people to donate as early in the day as possible, ideally at 10am.”

Donations can only be made online through the Big Give to be eligible for the match funding. The minimum donation is £5. See www.thebiggive.org.uk.

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