Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust completes purchase of Woodhall Spa Airfield

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust completes purchase of Woodhall Spa Airfield

Richard Gillin & Steve Waterhouse

Thank you to everyone who supported this fund-raising project

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust is excited to announce that today (19/09/14) it has concluded the final phase of its purchase of the former RAF base at Woodhall Spa Airfield. The Trust will now begin the project of developing the former airfield into a picturesque nature reserve rich in wildlife.

The Trust wishes to thank the many supporters who have donated funds to help purchase the airfield. £450,000 was donated by WREN’s Biodiversity Action Fund Land Purchase Programme and a further £100,000 came as a legacy donation from Robert Thomas Pearson. The Trust also received substantial public donations and wishes to thank the many donators and fundraisers who helped make this purchase possible.

Woodhall Spa Airfield was formerly the home of four brave RAF squadrons, including 617 ‘the Dambusters’ Squadron, but more recently was used as a sand and gravel quarry. The Trust will now create a new nature reserve on the site and hopes that people will continue to support the project with donations.

The purchase of Woodhall Spa Airfield comes at a poignant time, exactly 70 years since the last flight of Guy Gibson, leader of the famous Dambusters raid. After the success of the Dambusters raid in 1943 Guy Gibson continued flying missions over Europe until his last flight in 1944. Gibson took off from RAF Woodhall Spa on the 19 September 1944 on a mission over Germany but his plane was lost whilst returning.

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust is keenly aware of the unique heritage of Woodhall Spa Airfield and feels that the tranquillity and natural beauty of a new nature reserve will be a fitting tribute to the many service men and women who gave their lives to protect “our green and pleasant land”.

Woodhall Spa Airfield

© Imperial War Museum - Wing Commander Guy Gibson VC, Commanding Officer of No. 617 Squadron (The Dambusters), 22 July 1943

The new nature reserve will be a part of a local Living Landscape, connecting various nature reserves and habitats that already exist and allowing wildlife to move through these spaces enriching the local abundance of species. A key element of the new development project will lie in restoring parts of the land to the way it existed in the nineteenth century, including the restoration of lowland heath, a habitat that already exists in the neighbouring nature reserve of Kirkby Moor.

A clear record of the wildlife rich landscape that existed in 1890 is recorded in the diary of Victorian naturalist Joseph Burtt Davy who visited the Woodhall Spa area carefully recording the habitats and wildlife he encountered.

The new Woodhall Spa Airfield nature reserve will retain the outline of the airfield landing strip whilst restoring the landscape to its earlier nature rich condition allowing future generations to appreciate both the heritage and natural beauty of this special place.


Please note that Woodhall Spa Airfield will be closed for the foreseeable future as machinery from the quarry is removed and development work begins to create the new nature reserve. If you would like to donate funds to aid the development and management of the nature reserve please go to our donate page, or for more information, visit our main reserves page below.

Woodhall Spa Airfield