Gifts in Wills – a lasting legacy for wildlife 

Blue tit © Mike Read  /

How gifts in Wills from generous supporters have enhanced our two counties for wildlife.

Since the earliest days of the Trust’s existence, gifts in Wills from local wildlife lovers have allowed us to enhance our two counties for wildlife and bring local people closer to nature. 

Gifts in Wills have enabled us to employ conservation staff, purchase land, support the work of local naturalists and make it easier for future generations to experience and be inspired by wildlife.

For example, in 1989 a generous legacy from the Honourable Miss Joane Dutton set us on course to be the effective and influential wildlife charity we are today. Part of her gift was Shutts Copse,  an ancient woodland on the chalk soil of the Meon Valley, home to blue bells, wood anemones and dormice. Harry Webb lived in Portsmouth and was a frequent visitor to Farlington Marshes. When he left a gift in his Will it was used it to buy a telescope for his favourite reserve. Harry’s generosity now enables new visitors to get closer to the birds and be inspired in the same way as he was.

Cathleen Cooper lived on the Isle of Wight and was passionate about birds and butterflies, especially the Glanville fritillary butterfly, which is found only on the southern Chines. Cathleen’s generous gift (alongside support from you, our members and donors) helped the Trust purchase Sandown Meadows on the Island back in 2012..  This reserve is a haven for species such as kingfisher, watervole and southern march orchid and now lies at the heart of an even larger connected area of land that is managed for wildlife, helping to protect the Eastern Yar valley from source to sea.

These are just a few examples of the wonderful gifts that local people have given to wildlife and wild places in our two counties.

Legacies do not need to be large, or stand alone in the support a specific project. A gift of any size will help to make a real difference to wildlife and future generations; in fact much of our work to date would simply not be possible without them.  We are excited for the future of our wildlife, there are certainly challenges to be faced but the Trust has been here for more than 50 years and with the help of our members and supporters, including gifts in Wills we will be here for the long term to stand up for local nature and our precious wild spaces.  

In the words of Paul Tsongas: ‘This land, this water, this air, this planet, this is our legacy to our young.’

If you would like to be part of our wildlife’s future and you can find out more about leaving wildlife a gift in your Will by visiting our legacies webpage or contacting Steph Watson on, 01489 774412

This autumn a number of local solicitors are offering a free or reduced price Will writing service for local wildlife lovers. Read more about this offer here.