Hundreds of people have signed a petition to protect the future of Drews Pond Wood Area.

The land, which used to be connected to the Old Roundway Hospital Asylum, has been an area of solace for many during lockdown.

Deer, birds, bats, badgers and butterflies can all be spotted on walks throughout the area.

One piece of land, near Greenacres, was earmarked for a potential development site in the town's local plan - leading to outcry from charities, local residents and even a pub landlady.

The local development plan is currently being reviewed.

Now, a campaign has been launched the protect the entire Drews Pond area from any future development.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: (Photo by Steve Andrews) A deer peers over in the area(Photo by Steve Andrews) A deer peers over in the area

It has been spearheaded by family team Stuart Hislop, Lorna Llewellyn-Hislop and daughter Eve, along with local eco-warrior Joe Brindle.

As part of the Drews Pond Wood Project - it it hoped the area will be protected for generations.

Lorna said: "It has been brilliant working with Joe, and to have a young and passionate person involved. He got in touch with us and offered to do the website, which was so helpful.

"It has been a fantastic response so far. People have shared some wonderful comments and memories from the area, it's been quite touching.

"There are so many elements to the area; the history, wildlife and mental wellbeing that all comes with it. We want to make sure that lasts."

Once responses from the online petition and questionnaire have been gathered, then a written submission will be sent to Devizes Town Council.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: A map of the areas that would be designated - by Eve Llewellyn-HislopA map of the areas that would be designated - by Eve Llewellyn-Hislop

It will call on them to designate ten specific areas of land around Drews Pond Wood as Local Green Spaces due to their importance for wildlife, health and wellbeing as well as historical significance.

Lorna added: "I am hopeful they will look at the proposal and see the strength of reasoning behind why the area should be protected."

Joe, 18, added that the campaign was something he cared deeply about - due to the fact his family home is just round the corner from Drews Pond.

He said: "Friends and I have met during lockdown to walk round Drews Pond. I saw the posters up, and got in touch to see what I could do to help.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: (Photo by Steve Andrews) Birds of all varieties call Drews Pond Wooded Area their home(Photo by Steve Andrews) Birds of all varieties call Drews Pond Wooded Area their home

"It is vital for us to show the town council the value of this land, and how important it is for people to have nature like this so close to the town centre. And it's a haven for wildlife. Imagine the area being developed, I would be really sad if anything happened here."

Local residents, such as Mary Rennie, pictured, have also backed the calls. Organisations such as Trust for Devizes, Sustainable Devizes and the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust have also added their support.

The Trust say the campaign is "an important part of the Trust's objective to retain the character of our town and the benefits of living in it."

To find out more and see a map of the proposed areas, go to

To watch a video tour of the areas, click here

There are ten areas of land associated with the old Roundway Hospital including Drews Pond Wood Local Nature Reserve. Campaigners say these areas of land are all important for various reasons:

- All the open space connected to the Old Roundway Hospital Asylum grounds including the woods, Orchard, Cricket Field, hills to the south, & Greenacres have a unique sense of place that should not be eroded.

- The land is helpful to the health and wellbeing of Devizes residents, and provides disability-friendly green space. Many people access the Local Nature Reserve and public footpaths on the hills to the south by walking through the Old Hospital grounds. The grounds themselves are used for gentle recreation, being particularly suited to wheelchair users.

- The areas of open space in and around the Old Hospital grounds support the wildlife in the vicinity by providing a mosaic of connected habitat.

- A wide variety of birds are attracted to the whole area and species such as Goldcrest, Fieldfare, and Flycatcher have been recorded in the various spaces. Mammals such as deer and fox move between the sites. Amphibians and reptiles such as frog, toad, grass snake and slow-worm are also present.

- Rare species of Annex II bats on the IUCN Red List as Near Threatened in Europe are found in and around Drews Pond Wood. The Bechstein’s bats in this area are of international importance.

- 30 plant species considered to be indicators of high quality Ancient Woodland are present in Drews Pond Wood. Plant species of particular note include Snowdrop and Chives.

- The historic buildings and land have a special character that tells the story of an important part of the history of Devizes.