A Land Fit for Heroes - appeal to buy Woodhall Spa Airfield
Friday 10th May 2013
Lancaster - Les Binns
The Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust has launched an appeal to raise half a million pounds to buy Woodhall Spa Airfield, home of the 617 ‘Dambuster’ Squadron during the last years of World War 2. The charity needs to raise half a million pounds to secure the site.
The charity currently owns over half of the airfield and an adjacent nature reserve, Kirkby Moor. By securing the rest of the site, the runway can be saved and a new nature reserve created. It will be a pastoral landscape with skylarks singing overhead, farmland birds such as linnet and yellowhammer, and birds of prey soaring in the open skies.
Alongside the huge benefits for wildlife, local people will have the chance to be involved. New footpaths and hides will allow visitors to share in the unique atmosphere of open countryside - its spaciousness and serenity.
As well as its importance for our natural heritage, the site occupies a special position in our national history. Much of RAF Woodhall’s central runway still survives, from which the squadron dropped the Tallboy and Grandslam bombs and sank the Tirpitz. The Victoria Cross was awarded to three officers based at RAF Woodhall: Guy Gibson, who flew his last fatal mission from here in September 1944; Leonard Cheshire, the most highly decorated bomber pilot of the war, who went on to found one of the largest charitable foundations for disabled people; and Squadron Leader John Nettleton, who led 97 Squadron in the daring daylight raid on the submarine plant at Augsburg in 1942. The runway and wartime buildings will be preserved for future generations of visitors.
We believe that the creation of a new nature reserve will be fitting tribute to the many servicemen and women who gave their lives to preserve and protect our ‘green and pleasant land’.