Cala Homes (Thames) has handed over a 42.5-hectare forest to The Land Trust as part of a range of community benefits being delivered at the Buckler’s Park development.

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.

Buckler’s Forest will now be maintained and managed by The Land Trust, a charity which manages open spaces for public benefit, 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.

John Richards, land and planning director of 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 of The Land Trust, said: “Buckler’s Forest is a wonderful woodland and open space on the doorstep of the new community created by the 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 big outdoors at Buckler’s Forest, this will have the benefit of diverting attention away from local flora and fauna special protection areas.”

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