25th April 2022
The Land Trust has been transferred the freehold of 42 hectares of SANG at Buckler's Forest in Berkshire by developer, Cala Homes
The forest, designated as Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space (SANG), offers a network of trails and cycle routes. All the routes are accessible to the public, while the land serves to protect and enhance local biodiversity and provide a new green space for the community to enjoy.
The Land Trust will manage Buckler’s Forest in perpetuity, backed by an endowment from Cala. The SANG is in Crowthorne, where Cala is delivering 2,000 new homes, as well as a community hub, neighbourhood centre, pub / restaurant, community allotments and an orchard.
Cala’s Buckler’s Park site is being developed on the former Transport and Road Research Laboratory estate and represents exemplary brownfield regeneration. A major piece of what was once inaccessible woodland has been converted into public open space. Features from the former research laboratory have been retained and incorporated into the land, including a banked curve, fire tower, signage and control boxes, resulting in an open space of high recreational, ecological, and historical quality.
SANGs are vital as a means of offering the public alternative outdoor space away from Special Protection Areas (land designated to protect rare, vulnerable, and migratory birds). In Crowthorne, the opening up of this woodland at Buckler’s Forest seeks to attract local visitors away from neighbouring heathland to mitigate impact from recreational pressure which can have an adverse effect on wildlife populations and plant numbers if alternative public open spaces are unavailable.
John Richards, Land and Planning Director at Cala Homes (Thames), said:
“It was great to work with the team at The Land Trust to handover Buckler’s Forest. The Land Trust has an excellent reputation for custodianship of green spaces which ensures that spaces like Buckler’s Park are managed for the benefit of the public, while enhancing local biodiversity, for many generations to come. We look forward to working with the organisation again in the future.
“Buckler’s Forest is a very special place, much loved by the local community. It was with great pride that we were able to integrate historic elements of the former Transport and Road Research Lab – including the banked curve which makes it well worth a visit. We know that The Land Trust will continue this legacy as guardian and caretaker of the space, by building upon its recreation, education and biodiversity value for the whole community.”
Euan Hall, Chief Executive at The Land Trust, said:
“Buckler’s Forest is a wonderful woodland and open space on the doorstep of the new community created by Cala Homes. Green spaces are what bring people together, but it’s vitally important they are well-managed and maintained so they can continue to thrive.
“By actively encouraging people to enjoy the great outdoors at Buckler’s Forest, this will have the benefit of diverting attention away from local flora and fauna special protection areas.”
The site was designed and overseen by landscape architects, Macgregor Smith.
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