Gifts in Wills

The Power of Gifts in Wills

Meadow pipit © David Kilbey

Since the earliest days of the Trust’s existence, gifts left to us in Wills have made a huge difference to our work. They have made it possible for us to add to the land that we manage for local wildlife as well as improve the skills and resources needed to be a champion for nature both on and off our nature reserves.

We are hugely grateful to all the generous individuals who left gifts to local wildlife over the years. By investing in a wilder future for those that come after them they have all helped ensure our beautiful local wild spaces and the wildlife that lives there are protected long into the future.

Below are just some of the stories where gifts in Wills have had an impact on our work.

2020 – Heather Monie and Shirley Bull

Deacon Hill was bought using a gift from both Shirley and Heather, as well as more than 1600 donations from local wildlife lovers.  Heather and Shirley lived in the South Downs National Park and requested that their legacy be spent on chalk grassland. We were delighted to find a match for their kind gift at this fabulous and important site.

Deacon Hill
RS1359_Kingfisher 07k by Darin Smith-lpr

Kingfisher by Darin Smith

2019 - Gwendolen Bunce

Mrs Bunce was an Isle of Wight resident and had been a member since the early days of the Trust. When the opportunity arose to purchase Parsonage Farm and Hill Heath in the Sandown Valley, to help create the new nature reserve Newchurch Moors, her gift made a significant contribution towards securing this important site for the Island’s wildlife.


Newchurch Moors
Hockley Meadows Farm

2016 - Patricia James

Miss James’ gift contributed significantly to our purchase of Hockley Meadows Farm in 2017 and made it possible for us to raise the rest of the funds required by appealing to our members and supporters. This site is now a haven for wildlife like kingfisher, barn owl and dragonflies and the working farm supports our conservation efforts right across our Hampshire reserves.

Hockley Meadows Farm
Sandown Meadows by Caroline Meech

Sandown Meadows by Caroline Meech

2010 - Cathleen Cooper

Cathleen lived on the Isle of Wight and was passionate about birds and butterflies, particularly the Glanville fritillary. We used Cathleen’s gift to help us buy Sandown Meadows, then our ninth nature reserve on the Island and now a key part of an increasing network of wildlife sites along the Eastern Yar valley, together creating an unbroken habitat for wildlife. 

Sandown Meadows
Brent geese and lapwing seen through binoculars

Brent geese and lapwing seen through binoculars on the River Yar ©Mariko Whyte

2009 - Harry Webb

Living in Portsmouth, Harry was a frequent visitor to his local reserve Farlington Marshes. We used Harry’s gift to buy a telescope for Farlington, to help enable new visitors to get closer to the birds that so inspired him. We hope that Harry would be happy to hear that the site has recently seen avocet nesting in the summer months.

Farlington Marshes
Primrose in woodland at College Copse Farm

© Lianne de Mello

2003 - David Purslow

A great supporter of the Trust David was a keen wildlife photographer and gifted sculptor. He left a gift in his Will so that we might buy a woodland in north Hampshire. After a long and careful search, in 2013 we used this gift to help us buy College Copse Farm. Part of the site is covered by just the sort of woodland described by David.

Image of pond in Pamber Forest by Peter Emery

Pamber Forest pond by Peter Emery

1998 - Gwen Talmey

Gwen lived in Basingstoke and left a gift with the wish that it be used to buy woodland in the area in memory of her parents, Samuel Jesse Coakes and Elizabeth Verina Coakes. Her generosity meant that the Trust could buy Inhams Copse, close to the borders of Pamber Forest. Adding to pre-existing nature reserves and areas already managed for wildlife is a great way to create a bigger, better and more joined up landscape for nature.

Pamber Forest & Upper Inhams Copse
Southern marsh orchid

© Bob Chapman

1991 - Ron Ward

Ron was a local man with a great love of the countryside and nature. He was also the owner of a meadow to the west of Pamber. During his lifetime, this meadow was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI ) for its rich wildflower grassland. Ron’s final wish was that his beloved meadow be made into a nature reserve, and so he left it to the Trust in his Will.

Ron Ward's meadow

1989 - Hon Miss Joane Dutton

A substantial monetary gift from the Hon Miss Joane Dutton set us on course to be the effective and influential wildlife charity that we are today. Joane also gave us Shutts Copse, a beautiful ancient woodland that remains a haven for dormice and is full of woodland flowers, such as bluebells and wood anemones come the springtime.

Shutts Copse

The early years...

1981 - Edith Whitehead

Edith kindly left us Chappett’s Copse, a beech woodland in the Meon Valley. This fabulous site is home to many rare species of orchid including sword-leaved helleborine and butterflies like silver-washed fritillary. This fabulous site is now protected and managed for the wealth of species it contains.

Chappetts Copse

Male Silver Washed Fritillary by Isabel Carrahar

1973 - John Harold Lush

Mr Lush’s kind gift was the first significant legacy the Trust received and it allowed us to employ Jim White, our first ever conservation officer.  From that day to this gifts in Wills have continued to shape and transform the outlook for local wildlife, by enabling us to make real step changes in how and what we can achieve as an organisation.

Volunteer workparty at Farlington Marshes by Ian Cameron-Reid

Want more information?

If you would like to know more about how we use and treat gifts left to us to benefit local wildlife please take a look at our FAQs. If you would like any more information, or to discuss this with someone at the Trust please contact Steph Watson on 01489 774400 or email   

We would always recommend that you speak to your solicitor if you are thinking about leaving a gift in your Will to charity.