Fundraiser launched after devastating blaze at Dane Valley Woods

Around a quarter of the site has been destroyed Photo Frank Leppard

The Dane Valley Woods volunteers are fundraising to help them deal with the devastation after a large fire tore through the 12-acre site on Wednesday (August 31).

Six fire engines and the all-terrain vehicle attended the blaze which started near the allotments and forest school but then spread as it was fanned by the wind.

It is estimated around a quarter of the woodland site has suffered severe damage.

Photo Frank Leppard

Volunteer Kashmir Flint said: “Dane Valley Woods was established in 2003 and has had upwards of 6,400 native trees planted across the 12 acre site. As a result, the site has become a refuge for wildlife, with dozens of species being recorded, including lizards, voles, foxes and kestrels.

“The loss of habitat and food sources, such as fruiting trees and shrubs, will likely have a detrimental impact on our wildlife through the coming seasons, as well as the likely loss of life directly from the fire.

Photo Dane Valley Woods group

“Upsettingly, the fire also spread through a newly planted area, where saplings had recently been planted with our local sponsors.

“The setback that this fire has caused for our flourishing woodland is major, and our entirely voluntary-run team are devasted by its impacts. We are fundraising for some new equipment that will enable us to deal with large areas of burnt vegetation, such as hedge cutters.

Photo Frank Leppard

“Further equipment and services may be needed to address other potential hazards, such as larger unsteady trees that have been burnt. These are new challenges for our committee team and we are in the process of assessing the situations and seeking advice when needed.

“Much of our behind-the-scenes work is dedicated to fundraising for our yearly running costs, but with these new challenges, we are less likely to have spare time to dedicate to this aspect of our work. Our yearly running costs are around £500 each year and this is the amount we are hoping to raise with donations.

Photo Frank Leppard

“We have already been flooded with messages of sympathy and encouragement and we are ever thankful for our community who love the woods as much as we do.”

The team were helped to assess the damage through aerial photos taken by photographer Frank Leppard. The cause of the fire is not yet known.

Find the fundraising page here

Visit the group’s facebook page or check out the website at