Pontesford Hill success

Friday 24th April 2015

Pontesford Hill sponsored walkStudents from Mary Webb School on a sponsored walk

Donations from more than 1000 people across the country have resulted in Pontesford Hill being purchased by Shropshire Wildlife Trust.

 Massive community effort has brought the village of Pontesbury together in a lively campaign to save the hill for local people and wildlife. Their visionary determination has caught the imagination of people all over Shropshire and the UK – more than 100 donations came in from far distant locations.

Numerous fundraising events have been held locally, including a sponsored six-mile walk by 800 children and staff from Mary Webb School, Pontesbury Primary and Severndale Academy. A photographic show put on by award-winning wildlife photographer Ben Osborne, contributions from the Shrewsbury Mountaineering Club, The Ark Day Nursery, the 2nd Long Mynd Scout Group, the Mary Webb Society and ShawburyRotary Club and many others have all helped the campaigners to reach their target. A nine-year old girl, Ffion Korsak, threw a birthday party and invited her friends to give donations to the appeal instead of buying her presents.

Shropshire Wildlife Trust mailed out an appeal to all its members and their generous response brought in tens of thousands of pounds.

While enough money has been raised to purchase the hill the appeal is ongoing to support future management works and costs of looking after the hill. “We still need to raise another £24,000 to reach our target of £265,000,” said Mike Mortimer, Chairman of the Friends of Pontesford Hill. “We have numerous fund-raising events coming up over the next few weeks, please support them!”
This was our second chance to buy the 940-year lease on the hill. It was originally put up for sale by the Forestry Commission in 2010, but despite huge efforts and much fundraising by the Friends of Pontesford Hill, the plan was scuppered when we were outbid by a private buyer. Fears for people’s freedom to roam over the hill were raised when Mr Simon Hutchen, the owner, challenged the right of people to register the paths on the hill. Thankfully, Hutchen then decided to sell. A new campaign was launched and once again donations flooded in: a wonderful demonstration of the affection people have for the hill.

Meanwhile, the wildlife of the hill is being surveyed and recorded so its management can be planned in a positive way. Local consultations are also underway to discover people’s wishes.

“It has been absolutely phenomenal,” says Mike Mortimer. “To have raised this money in just five months demonstrates how deeply people care about their local landscape. I would like to thank everyone who has supported the appeal and helped us reach our goal of keeping Pontesford Hill at the heart of our community.”

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