Laurie Lee's wood opens after Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust purchase

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Media caption Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust raised the money to purchase the wood from almost 1,000 donations

A wood once owned by Laurie Lee has opened to the public on what would have been his 99th birthday.

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (GWT) purchased the wood from the author and naturalist's family for £35,000 after an appeal earlier in the year.

It raised the money from almost 1,000 donations and said it was "overwhelmed" by the support it received.

The three-hectare Trantershill Wood, in the Slad Valley, is abundant in native flora and fauna.

Lee's novel Cider With Rosie, published in 1959, is set in Slad and has sold millions of copies worldwide.

Roger Mortlock, chief executive of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, said: "The Slad Valley is a magical place, made extra special for so many of us through Laurie Lee's classic, Cider with Rosie.

"Thanks to the enduring appeal of his work, Laurie Lee draws visitors from all over the world.

"Exactly a year ahead of Laurie Lee's centenary celebrations, this is a great way to demonstrate his contribution to this wild corner of the Gloucestershire countryside."

Laurie Lee's daughter, Jessy, said: "Today's event is about celebrating the joy of the natural world, and securing Laurie's beloved woods for future generations to enjoy.

"My mother and I are delighted that this special part of our threatened valley is in now in such safe hands."

The woodland, which includes rare species such as white helleborine and carpets of bluebells, is next to the trust's existing nature reserve Swift's Hill.

Laurie Lee was born in Gloucestershire and educated in Slad and Stroud.

His youth growing up in Slad provided the material for his celebrated autobiographical trilogy - Cider with Rosie (1959), As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning (1969) and I Can't Stay Long (1975).

He also wrote volumes of poetry and produced a variety of other works, including filmscripts and plays.

Laurie Lee died in 1997. He is buried in the churchyard in Slad.

Image caption Laurie Lee would have been 99 on Wednesday

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