NATURE enthusiasts have raised almost £65,000 in the hope of buying a wildlife haven.
Blackswarth Road Wood at Crews Hole is being sold at auction this month and money has poured into a crowdfunding campaign to save it.
The nature charity Protect Earth says it is a crucial wildlife habitat for deer, badgers, buzzards, red kite, nuthatch, tawny owls, sparrow hawks, swifts, cuckoo, and bats. It also helps with carbon sequestration, and reducing particulate matter in the air along the busy Crews Hole Road.
Blackswarth Road Wood has a rich social and industrial past but since the 1990s it has has been left to naturally regenerate into a diverse woodland.
There has been no public access, so wildlife has been largely undisturbed. The land has also been used as a rubbish dump and a huge community effort will be needed to restore it.
Protect Earth has the backing of a number of organisations as it prepares for the auction, which takes place on September 13.