Stroud residents plan to raise money to buy beauty spot

A community group will try to raise £750,000 to buy a much-loved beauty spot set to be placed on the market.

The Heavens, in Stroud, is a 102-acre area of land with a waterfall and meadows, used widely by visitors.

Heavens Valley Action Group (HVAG) said a recent meeting to lay out its plans attracted “tremendous interest”.

The land is expected to be put up for sale in the coming weeks. The BBC has contacted the landowner, Moreton Cullimore, for comment.

The group said the landowner was willing to work with them.

Karen Thomas, HVAG coordinator, said: “We were really overwhelmed by the response; it was quite moving actually.

“When we asked people if they would support us in trying to buy the Heavens for the community there was whooping and cheering.”

The meeting was told that the sum needed will be raised through a community share issue, donations and other fundraising.

While HVAG is waiting to be legally registered, Stroud Valleys Project (SVP), which is a registered charity, is accepting donations on its behalf.

The audience also supported an option that if the money required cannot be raised, of collaborating with other potential buyers who share HVAG’s values to ensure the land is protected.

HVAG member Ben Challis said: “A lot of people have, like me, grown up in the Heavens. A lot have come more recently and fallen in love with the place. It’s so important to the whole community.

“If this land was fenced off or parcelled up it would be a tragedy. We have the opportunity to do something that will leave a lasting legacy.

“Everyone has a stake in this. When things really matter our community comes together and does amazing things, and this is one of those moments.”

The land was expected to be put on the market in early March but this is now understood to have been put back a month.

HVAG has met with the landowner’s agent to express the community’s interest.

The campaign has the support of several organisations, including the National Trust and Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.

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