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Award-winning actor backs campaign to save historic field

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Acclaimed actor Josh O’Connor is backing the Save Juniper Hill Field campaign.

The BAFTA and Globe award winner has become a patron alongside broadcaster Mary Portas, joining the fight to stop wildflower-rich land being divided into small plots for people seeking to buy “leisure land” in the countryside.

Josh is best known as the young Prince Charles in the Netflix series ‘The Crown’ and as Larry in the TV series ‘The Durrells’ O’Connor grew up in Cheltenham and now lives in Woodchester,  and has walked the limestone grasslands of the Cotswolds since he was a small child.

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Juniper Field Pic: Steve Hill

The Save Juniper Hill Field campaign wants to list the eight-hectare (20-acre) field close to the poet Laurie Lee’s childhood home as “an asset of community value” to stop it being parcelled up by Woodlands.co.uk, which specialises in buying tracts of land and reselling it in relatively small plots.

Woodlands.co.uk claims it is democratising access to the land, and that the plots are bought by nature lovers and further protected by covenants that ensure the countryside is used for peaceful enjoyment only.

Lindsay Pugh, part of the Save Juniper Hill Field  campaign team, said: “Joy Elworthy and Hanny Fox, two octogenarian campaigners who have walked the field for over forty years. walked up to Juniper Hill Field to meet Josh.

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Mary Portas Pic: Matt Bigwood

“They were able to tell him about the seven species of orchids found on the grassland amongst countless other flowers and described the skylarks who breed on the field in spring.”

Josh said: “This field is a beautiful upland grassland and every effort must be made to protect such a rare habitat. Splitting it up into small plots makes no sense in terms of conservation. All the current thinking about how to ensure our wildlife can adapt to climate change is focussed on linking up reserves and this field is key to that.”

The Friends of Juniper Hill Field have  drawn up an Open Letter to Gloucestershire to Angus Hanton, the CEO of Woodlands.co.uk. You can read it here https://www.savejuniperhillfield.co.uk/

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