Over a hundred people attended a woodland naming ceremony in a bid to prevent the land from being developed into housing.

On Monday, April 1, local groups met at Maidenhead Golf Course where Tina Quadrino, chair of the Maidenhead Great Park campaign and Cllr Simon Werner officially unveiled a new sign naming an area of the land Desborough Woods.

In January, developer CALA Homes submitted plans to transform the golf course into up to 1,500 homes across a 1.32-acre site - which would also include a Primary and Secondary School.

If approved by the Council, the land will be stripped of some of its trees and vegetation.

Maidenhead Golf Course already comprises an area known as Rushington Copse - a five-acre site of woodland. However, a vast amount of the gold course's woodland is unnamed.

Slough Observer: A phasing plan for the 1,500 home Elizabeth Quarter development at Maidenhead Golf Club. The schools would be delivered last. Credit: LDA Design

Maidenhead Great Park campaign led the naming ceremony with the support of Wild Maidenhead, the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead (RBWM) and Maidenhead Golf Club.

Tina Quadrino, chair of the Maidenhead Great Park campaign group, said: “Around 40 per cent of the publicly-owned land at Maidenhead Golf Course occupies is woodland, providing important habitats for wildlife, including deer and many types of woodland birds, as well as protected species like owls, bats and kestrels.

"Protecting greenspace and biodiversity is a vital part of the steps we must take to prepare for and mitigate against the effects of climate change."

Attendees of the event also took part in a Woodland Nature talk and guided walk.

The Maidenhead Great Park group formed in 2020 to campaign against plans to develop the 132 acres of council-owned woodlands and green open space at Maidenhead Golf Course.

Martin Woolner, local conservationist, woodland ecologist and one of the founders of Wild Maidenhead, said: “Biodiversity and well-functioning ecosystems are critical for human existence, economic prosperity and a good quality of life. The 50-plus acres of broadleaved woodland and scrubland is an important place for nature in Maidenhead.

“There are hundreds of oak trees of around 100 years in age which provide vital habitats for many species, including butterflies, moths, woodland birds, bees and beetles. Numbers of insects and birds have declined dramatically in the last 20 years.  If we are to halt this decline in our natural world, we must stop the destruction of woodlands and other habitats that support biodiversity. 

"We hope that the more people who understand the importance of this place for local wildlife, the more will call for the protection and better management of these important few remaining woodlands in Maidenhead.  By taking action to better manage them for wildlife, there will be significant benefits for both local people and wildlife.

“We are also calling for the ancient woodland at Rushington Copse to be designated a nature reserve so that it can be better protected and managed for wildlife.”