Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust launches major appeal to support wildlife in Winchester

This week the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust has launched a major appeal to raise funds for an important land purchase to the east of Winchester: Deacon Hill

Deacon Hill is a 10 hectare patchwork of scrub and chalk grassland overlooking the Chilcomb Valley. It is the only remaining stronghold for the Duke of Burgundy butterfly in the area. Without the introduction of winter grazing and clearance of scrub, we fear that wildlife benefiting from the site, particularly the Duke of Burgundy colony, could be lost.

The Trust has been working for many years to reconnect the remaining chalk grassland sites in this area to create a joined up network for nature. The site is located close to St. Catherine’s Hill nature reserve and adjacent to the Dongas, another Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust managed chalk grassland site. These connect to Hockley Meadows Farm which we purchased in 2017, thanks to our wonderful supporters in the area.

Across the valley from Deacon Hill sits Butterfly Conservation’s Magdalen Hill Down nature reserve, now a haven for wildflowers and butterflies following years of careful restoration and management. Deacon Hill is an important piece of the jigsaw in connecting up all of these sites. By purchasing this land, we could create a flourishing landscape for wildlife to the east of Winchester. But we need your help to make it happen.

Thanks to a generous gift in the Will of a member, the Trust already has a contribution towards the purchase price but there is an urgent need to raise £150,000 to complete the purchase before the end of March. To find out more about the appeal, or to make a donation please visit www.hiwwt.org.uk/deaconhill or call 01489 774408.