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Nower Wood Rebuild Wins 360k Heritage Lottery Fund Grant

Tuesday 5th April 2016

Surrey Wildlife Trust is celebrating winning a grant of nearly £363,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards the redevelopment of its flagship Nower Wood Education Centre.

The new facility will enable the Trust to expand its programme of educational activities

The cash is a fantastic boost for the £1.1m project, which will transform the woodland centre near Leatherhead.

“The rebuilding of Nower Wood is a dream we’ve held for over ten years,” said Aimee Clarke, Surrey Wildlife Trust’s Director of Education, People and Wildlife. “And we are over the moon that we’re so tantalisingly close to it becoming a reality.

“The existing wooden huts date back to the early 1970s – they’re old, creaky and leaky and the toilets actually freeze over in the winter! The new buildings will provide us with three bright new modern classrooms, so we can continue to inspire students to get out and get closer to nature.”

The 81 acres of ancient woodland was bought for use as an educational nature reserve in 1971. Around 8,000 visitors of all ages now visit every year to take part in pond-dipping, bug hunts, tree identification, mammal studies and environmental surveys.

The new facility will enable the Trust to expand its programme of educational activities and will open up Nower Wood to new audiences, including those with special educational needs and disabilities.

Naturalist and wildlife TV presenter Steve Backshall said: “A young person will never forget the first time they wander round ancient woodland. Field centres such as Nower Wood are key.”

Work on the new building is due to start in May and it should be open to welcome its first students in the New Year. Over £600,000 has already been donated to the appeal by Surrey Wildlife Trust members, local businesses and donors. But funds are still needed to ensure work on the centre can be completed inside and out.

Nigel Davenport, CEO at Surrey Wildlife Trust said:

We are thrilled that the Heritage Lottery Fund has agreed to support this wonderful project. Education is at the very heart of the Trust and this new centre will allow us to continue to encourage future generations to develop a lifelong passion for wildlife by connecting with the natural world.

“I’d like to say a huge thank-you to everyone who has helped us with the Nower Wood appeal – we are truly grateful to the generosity of all our donors. But we do still need a final push to reach our fund-raising target and every little really does count.”

The Nower Wood fund-raising team would be extremely grateful to receive any public donations, no matter how big or small.

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