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Ancient woodland purchased to support nature-based therapy

by | 22 Apr 24 | Nature & Biodiversity, News

The Wilderness Foundation UK (WFUK) has today, Earth Day, acquired over 90 acres of semi-natural woodland in Essex for the benefit of people and wildlife.

Mann Wood at Great Leighs, Essex comprises 92 acres of semi-natural ancient woodland, established over the last 30 years by the previous owner, David Boyle DL, through the combination of four separately owned adjoining woods.

Funded by Biffa Award and The Banister Charitable Trust, this acquisition will further WFUK’s work in nature-based therapy, environmental education and the protection of wild spaces.

Over the last five years the WFUK has been using the woodland for its therapy and environmental services.

Ownership will allow the foundation to continue these services, as well as expanding them to have a wider impact, with the intent to adopt a new approach to woodland conservation.

CEO of the WFUK, Jo Roberts says: “Currently we manage over 1000 therapy clients per year, in one-to-one nature-based therapy or groups – meeting the needs of children, teens, vulnerable adults and families through our work.

“Being in natural surroundings can help people understand themselves better and find more self-compassion, improved tools for relationships, and deal with trauma.”

Rachel Maidment of RSWT and Biffa Award grants manager adds that through the Partnership Grants Scheme, the WFUK was awarded a “significant award” to fund the purchase, “to help preserve, protect and enhance it in perpetuity.”

“Protecting rare habitats like Mann Wood is vital for biodiversity conservation and offers invaluable recreational opportunities for all.”

To see the video used in the fundraising submission, which shows the wood and the purpose for its protection, visit

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