About Us

About the Trust

The Jefferies Land Conservation Trust was established in September 2005 in response to a major development proposal aimed at changing the character of the unique countryside east and south of Coate Water Site of Special Scientific Interest near Swindon in Wiltshire.

The Trust’s aim is to protect and enhance  this special landscape , set in the foothills of the North Wessex Downs   Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Richard Jefferies [1848-1887], one of England’s most individual writers on nature and the countryside, was born and bred at Coate. The surrounding area inspired much of his work produced during a tragically short life. Jefferies’ old house at Coate, now a Museum, is dedicated to his memory.

‘Jefferies Land’ is a special place and a beauty spot much loved by many generations of Swindonians. Under constant threat by developers, this insecurity needs to be removed once and for all.

Why ‘Jefferies Land’?

Prof W J Keith, in his critical study of Richard Jefferies published in 1965, wrote:

We call the region around Coate farmhouse ‘Jefferies’ Land’ not merely because it was the country about which he wrote but because, in a very real sense, it was the country that he himself created. He has taught us to view it as nearly as possible with his eyes which, we are ready to admit, are keener than our own…. It is not only that we see with Jefferies’ eyes; what we see with and through them is his own personal vision.

For a FREE e-book of one of Jefferies’ books Click HERE

Our Vision

The Trust’s vision for ‘Jefferies Land’ places Swindon squarely on the map as a literary heritage site, a place for visitors to enjoy a special rural climate, a wildlife haven and a centre for study of the environment and historic landscapes.

The main elements of the
Trust’s Vision are to:

1)  maintain the rural landscape setting of Coate Water

2)  enhance the biodiversity of Coate Water Site of Special Scientific Interest and the nature reserves at Coate Water, Day House Copse and Burderop Wood North

3)  provide a centre to study and appreciate literary landscapes as an inspiration to UK writers with a special focus on Richard Jefferies’ key role in this evolution

4)  demonstrate traditional crafts and environmentally sensitive alternatives that reduce man’s impact on the land

5)  feature the archaeological qualities of the area

6)  provide educational opportunities for local people related to an appreciation of nature and living in harmony with it