PLANS for 352 acres of natural woodland near Machynlleth have reached their fundraising goals.
Television presenter and naturalist Iolo Williams has congratulated the Woodland Trust and Wales Wild Land Foundation on raising the funds to make it possible.
The campaign to raise funds to purchase Cefn Coch, 142 ha of windswept land high in the Cambrian Mountains, can now move ahead to allow nature to recreate native woodland across much of the site.
By creating the right conditions in the landscape, the charities hope one day to attract back iconic species which once inhabited the area, such as the pine marten, the red squirrel, the water vole and the dormouse.
Mr Williams said: “Many congratulations to the Woodland Trust and Wales Wild Land Foundation on raising the money to buy Cefn Coch near Machynlleth.
“I look forward to seeing the reserve develop into a habitat for some of the most iconic creatures we have in Wales.”
Jerry Langford, Wales director of the Woodland Trust, added: “I’m hugely grateful to everyone who has supported this appeal.
“When we launched the campaign we had just two months to raise the £350,000 needed to fund the project.
“£200,000 had been pledged already, but that still left a gap of £150,000. Once again, our supporters have been brilliant, generously supporting this exciting and innovative project.”
As a result of the success of the fundraising campaign, the Woodland Trust has now exercised its option to buy the land, and has let it to Wales Wild Land Foundation, who will lead the project from now on.
Simon Ayres, of Wales Wild Land Foundation, said: “Our charity is committed to restoring this area in the Cambrians to a more natural state with thriving wildlife, and to enable people to spend time there, walking and enjoying the wild.
“This partnership is a unique opportunity to bring Cambrian Wildwood to life.”
The plan is to kick-start the restoration by planting 5,000 native trees, birch, rowan, willow, alder, Scots pine, hazel, hawthorn and blackthorn.
These will act as a seed source to allow the site to regenerate naturally – encouraging back birds such as the nightjar and the curlew.
While the Woodland Trust has now raised the money to purchase Cefn Coch, the charity is still welcoming donations for running the site at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/cefncoch
See full story in the County Times