Charity of the Month: The Gaia Trust
The Gaia Trust’s mission statement is ‘Bringing nature and people together’. Basically, it is a Cornwall & Devon charity aimed at sustainable land use, which it achieves primarily through wild-life friendly farming, and at encouraging people to experience nature first-hand, which is achieved through access for walkers, education groups, interpretation etc.
We have two principal sites, Treraven Farm along the Camel Trail near Wadebridge in Cornwall, and Home Farm Marsh, along the Tarka Trail between Bideford and Barnstaple. On both of those, we have created permissive access so that people can enjoy the countryside, and organise guided walks, volunteer working parties and similar events.The Trust was founded back in 1988, but it is our 10th anniversary this year of owning Treraven Farm in Cornwall, and we will have a weekend of special events over the weekend of 25th, 26th & 27th September. Treraven is particularly family-friendly as the permissive paths are up on the open grass rides above the woods, with great views over the River Camel, allowing children to run along quite safely. Home Farm Marsh, on the Taw-Torridge Estuary, is very popular with bird watchers. Both sites have the advantage of allowing both locals and visitors to escape the busy cycle trails that can get very crowded in the summer.
We’re not a membership-based charity, and get most of our funding from farming sources (though donations are of course always welcome!). Our staffing is minimal – me a couple of days a week and a bookkeeper’s services about one day a week, plus volunteer trustees, so our costs are controllable. Access to our sites is perfectly free, as are most of our walks and events.
To find out more about this wonderful charity, have a look at their website www.gaiatrust.org.uk.