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Charity loses bid to buy section of Bristol woodland

A charity has failed in its bid to buy a section of city woodland.

Protect Earth fundraised more than £97,000, including gift aid, in the hope of purchasing Blackswarth Road Wood in the centre of Bristol.

The wood sold at auction on Wednesday for £245,000 to an anonymous bidder.

"By shining a light on this place, we have made it very difficult for anyone to damage or try to develop this woodland," said Protect Earth chairman Phil Sturgeon.

The environmental charity wants to protect the land from potential future development, improve biodiversity and create a wildlife refuge.

Mr Sturgeon said he was "sad that plan A didn't work", but said there were other things that could be done to protect the area.

"Plans B to F will be much easier now that people are aware of the place," he added.

"On a positive note, we have drawn a huge amount of attention to this amazing habitat and brought together a community of incredible people who were willing to go the extra mile to protect the woodlands we so desperately need," he said.

Mr Sturgeon said they hope the new buyer would "care for and protect this habitat for the benefit of nature and the community".

"We will hold them to account at every turn if they fail to," he added.

Those who donated to the crowdfunding campaign will receive a refund, but the charity has been advised by Crowdfunder to not process the refunds immediately in case the winning bidder fails to complete.

"We have no interest in holding onto people's money and will return it at the very earliest opportunity," said Mr Sturgeon.

He added that he was "grateful" to the "generous" people who had supported the campaign.

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