Community is working together to help protect the future of Speckled Wood

A primary school, a business and the Ore Community Land Trust (Ore CLT) have come together in a unique way to help protect the environment.

Banfield and Pomphrey Funeral Directors’ shop window in Old London Road was transformed with a wildlife window display put together by Ore Community Land Trust (Ore CLT) and pupils of Sandown Primary School. It was all part of an ongoing project to help protect North East Hastings’ last green area—Speckled Wood—from urbanisation and at the same time raising awareness for this year’s World Environment Day held on June 5th.

Tony Hart from Banfield & Pomphrey, said: “We’re very fortunate being situated on Old London Road. Not only do we get a great view of Speckled Wood, we’re also in a very busy area and can stand out with our window display.

Some of the children who took part in the project.

“I can’t think of a more worthy cause to promote in the area for World Environment Day than the preservation of Speckled Wood. We hope our transformed windows, thanks to pupils of Sandown, inspire residents of Hastings to support the Ore CLT.”

Unlike much of Hastings, Speckled Wood has become greener over the last century, with a street that used to run through the woodland being demolished in the 1950s and allotments, originally allocated to World War I soldiers, being abandoned to nature in the 1960s.

Ore CLT was established in 2012 to ensure the woodland’s continued protection against urbanisation, with parts of the 13-acre woodland still being owned by various individuals and organisations. Ore CLT has also been able to buy its own plots of land in Speckled Wood to guarantee their preservation, thanks largely to grant funding from Big Local North East Hastings.

Jim Breeds, Chair of Ore CLT, said: “Every now and then someone tries to secure planning permission in Speckled Wood, which is where we come in to campaign for its preservation.

“We’ve been very successful to date. However, our work can only continue so long as the residents of Hastings support our cause, and Sandown Primary along with Banfield & Pomphrey have been a massive help in raising awareness.”

Mr Breeds approached Mr Hart, a fellow Hastings Borough Bonfire society member, with the idea of utilising Banfield & Pomphrey’s prominent location for Ore CLT and was met with overwhelming support.

He then asked Sandown Primary if its pupils could help by making colourful woodland drawings, models and paintings to display at Banfield & Pomphrey – he received more than he expected.

Kate Tugwell, Deputy Head at Sandown Primary, said: “There is a strong ‘Outdoor Learning’ ethos at Sandown and we embrace any opportunity to bring the natural world into our pupils’ wider experience. To be able to support the Speckled Wood project was a pleasure.”

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