Victory for forest campaigners in Sussex

Victories can be achieved. Campaigners in Sussex, England, have succeeded in seeing off a threat to precious countryside from the tourism industry. This is what we posted up about their campaign last autumn: Taking back the land – the fight to save Worth Forest 27.9.22.

A February 9 press release from the campaigners said:

“Today Center Parcs have announced their withdrawal from their project to dump a huge leisure development into the heart of Worth Forest in Sussex at Oldhouse Warren, just down the road from Gatwick and South London and right next door to Crawley.

“This is a huge victory for local people and for our regional and national allies who love our Forests and have worked to publicise the huge value of Oldhouse Warren and Worth Forest for wildlife and for people’s enjoyment.

“It is a victory too for all those people who have worked to survey and publicise the rare and special wildlife of Oldhouse Warren, despite its lack of public access.

“It is a huge victory for the trespassing tactic. Most of the Forest is forbidden to public access and only by trespass were our campaigners and wildlife surveyors able to introduce people to the Forest and survey its rare and precious wildife.

“On September 24th this culminated in our 300 strong mass trespass in Oldhouse Warren. Now our task is to work to restore Worth Forest to its past glory and to make it a place in which people can be with nature as of right, and in ways that do not damage its wildlife.

“This victory must be a stepping stone to the restoration of Worth Forest for nature and for us all”.

Campaigner Kim Turner of Landscapes of Freedom said: “The work to protect Oldhouse Warren is not finished with this result. It begins. It must have greater protections, as part of Worth Forest, much like those Ashdown Forest has. Its value needs recognising, its boundaries opened to the public.

“The surveying work of our team has already revealed incredible rarities, hundreds of veteran trees, stunning displays of funghi, rich birdlife, and the bryophytes of the rainforest remnants.

“Yet it is thought of by locals as merely ‘a tree farm’ because they do not have access to see what is there but merely peer from a fenced-in footpath. Tear those down!”

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