Update: our petition has closed, after receiving an amazing 1,619 signatures. Thank you!
Drews Pond Wood Project has looked after the Local Nature Reserve since 1990 to keep it as a special place for wildlife and a resource for local people. Now we are asking for your help to get more protection for the wood and its surroundings.
We are calling on Devizes Town Council to designate ten areas of land around Drews Pond Wood as Local Green Spaces due to their importance for wildlife, health and wellbeing as well as historical significance.
The Local Plan and Neighbourhood Plan are being reviewed. These plans will decide where to put hundreds more houses in Devizes. These plans shouldn’t just be about where to put development - they also need to identify areas that are special and important for people and wildlife so that they can be protected for the future.
The National Planning Framework enables communities to identify and protect areas that are of value to them through Local and Neighbourhood Plans by designating Local Green Space. This designation ensures strong development restrictions on an area.
There are ten areas of land (map below) associated with the old Roundway Hospital including Drews Pond Wood Local Nature Reserve. These areas of land are all important for various reasons:
All the open space connected to the Old Roundway Hospital Asylum grounds including the woods, Orchard, Cricket Field, hills to the south, & Greenacres have a unique sense of place that should not be eroded.
The land is helpful to the health and wellbeing of Devizes residents, and provides disability-friendly green space. Many people access the Local Nature Reserve and public footpaths on the hills to the south by walking through the Old Hospital grounds. The grounds themselves are used for gentle recreation, being particularly suited to wheelchair users.
The areas of open space in and around the Old Hospital grounds support the wildlife in the vicinity by providing a mosaic of connected habitat.
A wide variety of birds are attracted to the whole area and species such as Goldcrest, Fieldfare, and Flycatcher have been recorded in the various spaces. Mammals such as deer and fox move between the sites. Amphibians and reptiles such as frog, toad, grass snake and slow-worm are also present.
Rare species of Annex II bats on the IUCN Red List as Near Threatened in Europe are found in and around Drews Pond Wood. The Bechstein’s bats in this area are of international importance.
30 plant species considered to be indicators of high quality Ancient Woodland are present in Drews Pond Wood. Plant species of particular note include Snowdrop and Chives.
The historic buildings and land have a special character that tells the story of an important part of the history of Devizes.
In the past local people have helped to campaign for this special part of Devizes:
Lobbied District Councillors to acquire Drews Pond Wood in perpetuity for the people of Devizes when the Old Hospital closed (1996)
Campaigned to save the historic buildings and grounds of the Old Hospital Northern site - now Heritage Park (1996).
Raised money to purchase the Old Orchard & Cricket Field that was gifted to Wiltshire Wildlife Trust (2016)
Fought to stop development on the amenity space in front of the Listed Building (2016).
You can help to make a real difference again. Thank you.