AN ancient Wiltshire woodland is to be saved from potential developers and transformed into a nature reserve.

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust has agreed a deal to buy Great Wood in Grittenham, North Wiltshire - which was under threat from commercial developers.

The 71-acre ancient woodland will now be turned into a nature reserve, protecting it from future development.

Gary Mantle, chief executive of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, said: "We will restore it to a fully functioning ancient woodland ecosystem, increasing biodiversity whilst ensuring it is more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

"This is a unique opportunity for us to preserve what is probably the largest collection of wild service trees in the country as well as fantastic stands of oak.

"We have a wonderful chance to work with local farmers and other landowners to connect Great Wood to other nearby ancient woodlands and hedgerows as part of a wider nature recovery network."

The purchase comes after the trust received a £2.1m grant from environmental and community protection group Biffa Award.

Biffa Award runs schemes aimed at protecting UK biodiversity, often funding local community projects near landfill sites.