Duxford Old River Appeal FAQs

Duxford & the land for sale

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1. How large is Duxford Old River?

The farmland we are buying at Duxford Dairy Farm is 113 acres.

2. Why are you trying to buy this land?

The Duxford Old River site represents a missing piece of the wildlife jigsaw of the upper Thames. Combined with the 645 acres of our land at Chimney Meadows nature reserve, it will create the first nature reserve to span the river, and the largest nature reserve in the non-tidal section of the Thames. Wildlife needs large areas of land with a wide range of habitats in which different species can thrive. Duxford Old River is a large ‘stepping stone’ which will enable wildlife to connect with habitats covering several thousand acres of floodplain in the upper Thames.

3. What's so special about floodplain fields in the upper Thames?

Regular flooding of the fields on both sides of the River Thames in this area shapes the natural environment, and supports many of the most important habitats for wildlife in Oxfordshire. It is designated a Conservation Target Area due to its importance for lowland meadow, a habitat that has declined by 97% in the last century and is considered a priority habitats in the UK, and also grazing marsh Biodiversity Action Plan habitats, as well as for the aquatic habitats found in the River Thames and its backwaters, ponds and streams.

4. What wildlife will be protected if you buy Duxford Old River?

Otters and water voles, both species that are threatened by the lack of suitable habitat, are seen in the series of meanders where the old river diverts from the navigable channel. We have already recorded 45 species of birds in the fields, hedgerows, reeds and river banks, including a breeding pair of curlew, reed, Cetti’s and sedge warblers, little egret and kingfishers. If the appeal is successful we will spend time getting to know the site and carrying out a comprehensive survey of the land and old river meanders so that we have a better understanding of the wildlife already there and the potential for more.

5. Why aren't you going to do the same restoration of wildflower meadows that you've done at Chimney Meadows?

Duxford Old River presents us with a unique opportunity to naturalize the fields in a way the Trust has never done before. It is a blank canvas where we can introduce a fish pass and backwaters, ponds and pools, let wet woodland grow up, and trees from the hedgerows self-seed onto the fields. This will create a wild habitat to complement the wildflower meadows on the Chimney Meadows nature reserve. BBOWT will be able to learn from this and share our experiences with organisations and landowners interested in letting nature take its course in other floodplain areas.

6. Why is it important to have a nature reserve on both sides of the River Thames?

The diversity of the habitats that we will allow to be created at Duxford Old River will enhance the landscape that we have already created at Chimney Meadows and give more wildlife a wider range of territory to move in.

7. What impacts will there be on flooding in the area if you create backwaters on the land?

We cannot say what impacts, if any, there may be as a result of the creation of new backwaters and ponds on the Duxford Old River land. The Environment Agency is aware of our plans and has given us encouragement to scope out the potential for improving connectivity with the river by creating a fish pass around the weir and improving the ford so that fish can easily access the old meanders. We will continue to work with the Agency on the details of our plans, and collaborate with them on any flood prevention and alleviation work.

8. What will happen to the land if you don't meet your appeal target?

We cannot say what the current owners will do if BBOWT is not able to purchase the land. They could easily sell to someone else, and as the land has no protection, this haven for wildlife could be destroyed.

BBOWT Appeal

1. How can I donate to this appeal?

First of all, a massive “thank you” from all of us here at BBOWT for choosing to support us! There are various ways that you can support us:
• Online: please go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/duxford
• By phone: please call 01865 788300 between 9am and 5pm Monday - Friday
• By post: please send your gift to us at Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust, The Lodge, 1 Armstrong Road, Littlemore, Oxford, OX4 4XT

2. How much should I give to this appeal?

Your donation, no matter the size, really will go a long way and make a big difference, so thank you!

Some suggested amounts are listed below:
• £37.50 buys 30 square metres of land.
• £62.50 buys 50 square metres of land.
• £125 buys 100 square metres of land.
• £1,265 buys a quarter acre of land.
• £2,525 buys half an acre of land.
• £5,050 buys one acre of land.

3. What will my donation be spent on?

BBOWT needs to raise £220,000 by 30th September towards the purchase price of the land, and ensure it is protected for wildlife. We have secured an agreement with the current owners to buy the land. Contributions to the BBOWT appeal will go towards the purchase of the land.

4. What will happen if you don’t raise all the funds you need?

If we do not raise all of the necessary funds by the 30th September, our Trustees would make funds available from our reserves to cover any shortfall which means that whilst we would be able to purchase this land, we would have less money to spend on managing our existing nature reserves in the years to come.

5. Are any other organisations funding the purchase of Duxford Old River?

BBOWT has submitted a grant application to the Heritage Lottery Fund. If we are successful, this grant will be put towards the purchase price of the land at Duxford Old River. We have also applied to other trusts and grant-making bodies for funds to contribute to the purchase.

6. Why are you using Virgin Money Giving to collect donations?

Because Virgin Money Giving is not-for-profit, they only charge what they need to cover their operating costs. They ask for a one-off payment from charities when they register and 2% of donations. They don’t charge an ongoing fee to be on their site and there are no monthly or annual fees.

This means that more money goes where it's needed - directly to charities like BBOWT, so that we can spend more time, energy and money on helping to protect our precious local wildlife.

For more information, please visit: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/giving/.

7. Why have you changed the amount you are requesting on the Virgin Money Giving page?

We are not yet in a position to complete the purchase of Duxford Old River, although hundreds of our supporters have already responded so generously to our request for help.

The overall cost of the land is £575,000. We applied to grant-funding organisations, including the Heritage Lottery Fund, to fund the majority of the cost to buy the land. We expect to hear by the middle of September if our applications to HLF and another grant funding body are successful. None of the grants are guaranteed, which is why people are still able to support our appeal to buy Duxford Old River.

8. Could you have applied to grant funders earlier?

We applied to the grant funders as soon as as we were able to, and waiting for three months for a decision is typical for any applications of this size.

9. What happens if you fall short of your target because other funders turn down your applications?

It will depend on the level of shortfall, but we will ask other funders who have not yet given to the appeal. Our appeal deadline remains 30th September. BBOWT Trustees will consider the possible options for how the shortfall can be met, if there is still a deficit by that date.

10. Why did you set the public appeal target at £220,000?

This was based on how much members have given to previous land purchase appeals, and also how much we expect to raise via grants and other donations.

11. The cost of the land is £575,000 but the figure stated for Duxford Old River in grant applications is £620,000, why is this?

The land purchase figure is £575,000 but the overall cost of the project is £620,000, which includes legal fees and Stamp Duty associated with the land purchase, and the costs of interpretation boards and running events after the purchase. 

12. How else can I get involved with the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust?

There are plenty of other ways you can support BBOWT.

  • Join us – Become a member today and help us protect the wildlife and countryside you love. Please join online today or call 01865 788 300.
  • Leave a gift in your Will - These gifts, no matter how small, help us nurture and protect wild spaces, so that local species can thrive. Your future support could help BBOWT achieve remarkable things.
  • Volunteer with us - Whether you have a couple of hours of a couple of days to spare, volunteering is a great way to get out, get fit and get involved in helping to protect your local wildlife.
  • Come along to one of our events - With over 300 'wild' events taking place throughout the year, from wildlife identification courses, to practical days, to family fun days out, there is something to suit everybody.
  • Become a corporate member - If your business wants to help local wildlife, invest in the local community and contribute to a healthier environment, you could benefit from a relationship us.