The project was formed with the hope to transform the landscape, boost local biodiversity, fight climate change, and bring benefits for the community.

The Lower Chew Forest will be home to 100,000 trees and shrubs, new wetlands, miles of hedgerows, and species-rich grassland. It is a continuously growing habitat that will be a sanctuary for local wildlife, promoting biodiversity and creating a natural paradise.

The forest will help tackle climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere  and will also reduce flooding risks in nearby villages and towns like Keynsham. The forest will offer spaces for regenerative food production, agroforestry and community activities where people can volunteer, learn, and connect with nature.

Triodos has always aimed not only to combat biodiversity loss but also to proactively contribute to the growth of natural habitats before irreversible losses occur.

Why nature restoration matters

Restoring nature is important for many reasons. It helps combat climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide, supports wildlife by providing habitats and offers many benefits to human communities, including flood management, cleaner air and water, and recreational spaces that boost physical and mental well-being.

Dave Wood, CEO of Avon Needs Trees, added:“The Lower Chew Forest will have huge significance to our region, particularly as we have just 7.8% woodland cover in the West of England, which is critically low compared to 13.3% average across the whole of the UK. Our plans will bring a huge range of benefits to nature and our communities, including helping to tackle the climate emergency, improving biodiversity connectivity and providing a place for people to volunteer, learn and connect with nature.”

Since 2019, Avon Needs Trees has planted over 35,000 native trees in Somerset and Wiltshire. Their goal is to create woodlands that last for generations, acting as vital carbon sinks, enhancing local biodiversity, and offering natural flood management solutions.

The creation of Lower Chew Forest is a major step forward for nature restoration. It shows how innovative financial models and strong collaboration can lead to significant environmental benefits. The forest is set to become a cornerstone of biodiversity, climate resilience, and community engagement, hopefully inspiring similar projects across the South West and beyond.