Woodland Trust highlights “serious risk” to ancient woods from Eastleigh council’s development plans

Woodland Trust’s Broadleaf magazine, Autumn 2017: SMALL WONDERS – One woman’s passion for pin-sized wildlife in Eastleigh has spawned a remarkable snapshot of her local woods. But there’s a sting in the tail…

“These days I know what to look for – a leaf that’s not whole, a petal with a pimple. My eyes have grown used to spotting where an insect might be lurking.” Jennifer Gosling is bonkers about bugs, and has hunted down hundreds with her camera lens in the woods near her Eastleigh home. She has never earned a penny from her images – in fact she only started snapping nature in 2012, when her daughter gave her a camera after she retired. Yet her curious woodland passion has spawned a superlative gallery of work – laid out in close-up over this article.

There is a sting in the tail of this inspiring story, however – one that has given Jennifer’s quest a new urgency. The irreplaceable ancient woods she loves are now at risk of serious damage from a proposal to box them in with housing estates and roads. They include Upper Barn and Crowdhill Copse, owned by the Woodland Trust and alive not just with invertebrate life, but badgers, tawny owls and rare Bechstein’s bats. Jennifer is horrified – and has joined hundreds of locals backing the Trust’s campaign to save them. “I walk these woods every day, and these plans [for over 5,000 new houses and a major new road] could decimate nature. Invertebrates may not be as glamorous as owls or otters, but they are vital to the woodland ecosystem, and especially vulnerable to pollution from aggressive development. This news has given my hobby a new campaigning zeal!” 

To read the full version of this article in Broadleaf, the magazine for members of the Woodland Trust, click here.

To find out more about the Woodland Trust, click here.