A NATURE haven in South Cumbria was the scene of a victory walk 25 years ago to mark the successful conclusion of a campaign to maintain access to woodland.

It all started in 1993 when it was revealed that Sea Wood, off the coast road, near Bardsea, was to be sold to the highest bidder unless a conservation charity could raise £30,000.

The Mail, on July 20 in 1993, noted: “Cumbria County Council, which owns the land, popular with walkers and visitors, is keen to sell to the Woodland Trust.

“But if the charity can’t raise the money it would fall into private ownership, bringing fears that a new owner could restrict access or close it completely.”

A meeting to launch a fundraising appeal attracted 70 people and £2,500 was donated in the first month.

By October the Ulverston-based Town Lands Trust pledged £2,000 towards buying the 400 acres of land.

Among other donations was £200 from The Mail, from a company charitable trust.

It was said the wood was once part of the 16th century estate of would-be queen Lady Jane Grey and taken by the state after her execution.

The Mail, on February 9 in 1994, was able to announce that the £30,000 total had been reached.

A public appeal brought £13,000 and the remaining £17,000 was provided by Glaxo.

Sea Wood became the 22nd site in Cumbria to be looked after by the Woodland Trust.

The purchase was celebrated with a guided walk led by Woodland Trust officials which gave visitors a chance to see oak and cherry trees more than 200 years old.

In 1990 Bardsea had lost one of its favourite trees – a centuries-old yew blown down in gales.

The Mail, on January 30, said it would be replaced by an 18-inch seedling taken from the original tree.

The article noted: “The top two-thirds snapped, falling across Main Street and blocking the road to traffic.”

After it was made safe, all that was left by the gale was a stump just five feet tall.

Andrew Donaldson, a Bardsea landscape architect, said: “It’s a tragic loss, especially to so many people who have known the tree in the village all their lives.”