Chris Packham calls for donations to Horse Common appeal

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The TV presenter, 61, said securing the £90,000 needed for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) to buy the 91-acre plot in the New Forest would be “incredible”. Ecotricity boss Dale Vince has vowed to match every single donation given to the appeal for the rest of this month. 

Generous Express readers, in partnership with mobile phone network Ecotalk, have raised £45,000 towards creating space for nature.

Mr Packham said: “Securing the funds for Horse Common would be an incredible gift for nature this Christmas.

“We have spent this year raising money to transform the plot of land in the New Forest, and with one last generous push, we could reach our goal.

“If we all band together for this cause, work can begin next year to start welcoming back the species that are meant to call the woodland home.

“The need to safeguard ecosystems has never been clearer. Times are tough but there can be no delay in our bid to restore nature. The future of the planet depends on it.”

The Horse Common reserve sits next door to the 910-acre reserve of Franchises Lodge, run by the RSPB.

It also helps provide a link with the Loosehanger Copse Site of Special Scientific Interest and Langley Wood National Nature Reserve to the north and the New Forest SSSI to the south.

But for decades it has been dominated by commercial forestry plantations. 

These tend to be clumps of the same species of tree of the same age, so are of limited use for wildlife.

The RSPB wants to buy it, rewild it and restore it to its natural state of mixed woodland, heathland and boggy mires.

This will create a haven for wildlife that is either in trouble or in relatively small numbers, such as red-listed lesser spotted woodpeckers, willow tits and potentially nightingales.

Mr Vince, 61, said: “It’s like the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle.  If we can buy it for them, the RSPB can create a bigger, more joined up place for nature, with some amazing habitats.”

-To support the cause, send cheques made payable to “RSPB” to Daily Express Horse Common Appeal, RSPB, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG19 2DL or donate online via

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