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18 - 25 April 2024

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Wildlife in the Wychwood
Green Match Fund Campaign

UPDATE: A huge thank you to everyone who supported our campaign - the final total raised was £10, 605!!

We are really excited to be part of The Big Give's Green Match Fund initiative launching on 18th April 2024.

During the week of 18 - 25 April 2024, The Big Give will match every donation* made to WFT's Wildlife in the Wychwood campaign via The Big Give website – meaning you can DOUBLE your donation and its impact for nature at no additional cost to you.


Faced with the enormity of the environmental crisis, it is little wonder that many of us feel powerless.  But WFT believes that together we can effect change, starting right on your doorstep. 

WFT works on a local level to champion nature in West Oxfordshire. We began around a kitchen table in Charlbury over twenty years ago. Since then, we have grown from a small handful of dedicated volunteers to a registered conservation charity that owns 4 nature reserves, and manages a further 3, across different locations in the Wychwood area. We have transformed these places from degraded land into flourishing havens for wildlife.


Our Wildlife in the Wychwood campaign is centred on Gibbets Close Hill, a site on the edge of Witney, gifted to us as a legacy in 2020. It covers 50 acres (20 hectares) of previously poor-quality agricultural grassland.


Over the last four years, we have started to see nature slowly recovering at Gibbets Close Hill. Hundreds of oak and other tree saplings have been springing up as the land relaxes. Ghostly barn owls quarter the softening fields in the half-light.

This is all good news, but things could be better ...

The problem - Water is obviously vital for wildlife, but there is only a small seasonal pond at Gibbets which is dry most of the year. Furthermore, the lack of carrion in our countryside has a limiting effect on food chains cumulatively across a landscape.

The solution - We will create two specific wildlife areas, a permanent watering hole and an elevated carrion table to address the problems. This will accelerate the rewilding process and increase biodiversity. In addition, discreet cameras will monitor wildlife activity, providing data for ongoing biodiversity study and offering an educational resource for schools and other organisations.

















Places like Gibbets have a positive effect on nature in the surrounding area. These 'islands' of better habitat offer much-needed refuges for wildlife which can then disperse and colonise new places. As well as making an important contribution to biodiversity,  nature reserves like Gibbets also provide water absorption and carbon storage. All these things benefit local people, and cumulatively have global significance.

We know there is more that we can do to help wildlife in the Wychwood. Our plan is to create two enhanced wildlife areas at Gibbets Close Hill to encourage wildlife, increase biodiversity and accelerate the rewilding process.

But we can’t do it without you. 

Our vision for Gibbets is a nature reserve teeming with life, a flourishing haven for wildlife in the Wychwood area. We hope that one day critically endangered species like nightingales and turtle doves will make their home at Gibbets.

Could you help us make it happen?


You can find out more about WFT’s Green Match Fund campaign now by clicking the big green button below.


When the donation window opens,  you'll be able to make ONE donation with TWICE the impact between midday on Thursday 18th April and midday Thursday 25th April 2024 (via card payment) by clicking the big green button below. (Please note, you will not be able to donate until the donation window opens on 18th April.)


On behalf of WFT and nature in the West Oxfordshire area, thank you. We are truly grateful for your support. Together, we can make a difference to wildlife in the Wychwood and beyond.

If you wish to give more than £500 and would prefer to do so by BACS, please email for additional instructions on how to make your donation.

* Our target is to raise £5,000 between 18-25 April in order to access our full Green Match Fund pot of £5,000, generating a total of £10,000 to support wildlife in the Wychwood.

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"The vision of Wychwood Forest Trust is inspirational and empowering. In an age when gloom and cynicism sometimes seem to rule, this project starts from where we are and tries to improve it, one step at a time. Wychwood Forest Trust celebrates the pockets of hope in our area – nature, woodland, wildlife, craftspeople, volunteers – and helps them survive, thrive, grow and connect with each other. Walking in Gibbetts Close and seeing the vision of today’s hedgerows and trees as direct genetic descendants of the ancient forest, ready to reach out and connect into a bigger whole, is one of the most hopeful experiences I have had in recent years."


“I was delighted to visit Wychwood forest trust, a wonderful local conservation charity who work hard to restore and protect habitats in our historic Wychwood area.

Here in West Oxfordshire, we are lucky to be surrounded by rural landscapes. The project is currently focused on rewilding 50 acres of former farmland to make a haven for wildlife and protect our area’s rural character. The trust is working hard to achieve this through their involvement in ‘The Big Give’ aiming to raise £5000 to be match funded – The Trust do outstanding work that has a real impact on our local area please do consider supporting this excellent cause.”


"The plans we have for Gibbets Close over the next few years and decades will allow us to put a few commonly held nature recovery concepts (and misconceptions) to the test. We’ll use a combination of professional expertise, scientific rigour, and a few good old-fashioned hunches to quickly replace some of the vital biological ingredients that have been tidied away from our modern landscapes, and then see what happens. I’m quietly confident that it won’t be long before Gibbets Close is one of the most beguiling pockets of ‘wildness’ to explore in the Oxfordshire countryside."


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