Douglas to run half-marathon in Kettering woods earmarked for the chop

He hopes to highlight the importance of it as a warehouse planning decision looms

By Sam Wildman
Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 6:00 am
Douglas Mayer
Douglas Mayer

A nature lover is to run a half-marathon in woods which could be chopped down as part of a developer's Kettering warehousing bid.

Buccleuch Property (Kettering) Ltd wants to remove 40,000 sq m of woodland at Weekley Hall Wood, an area loved by many for walking, running and cycling, leading to a campaign to save it.

On Sunday (June 14) Douglas Mayer will run a half-marathon there to highlight the importance of the recreational area and the benefits it can have on people’s health and wellbeing.

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He said: “I started running at the Parkrun in Kettering over two years ago and have been hooked ever since.

"Running the woodland and wildflower meadow paths around Weekley Hall Wood have been vital to me and the constant battle to keep my Crohn's disease in remission.

“I was devastated to discover the proposed plans to destroy and significantly devalue this very popular running, walking and cycling route and replace it with more soulless warehouses.”

Thousands have signed a petition to save the wood, which the developers said would be replaced with woodland creation on a 1:1 ratio. The warehouse park could create up 700 jobs - but campaigners say jobs should not outweigh the impact the development would have on the environment.

Kettering psychologist Dr Siobhan Currie, from the Save Weekley Hall Wood campaign team, said: “People need these locally accessible green spaces, both for their physical health and their mental wellbeing.

"This is part of our material objections to the proposed plans - that it is an amenity that benefits so many.”

As well as raising awareness of the campaign to save Weekley Hall Wood, Douglas is aiming to raise money for Crohn’s and Colitis UK.

Crohn’s disease is one of the two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease, an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation of the entire digestive system. Crohn’s disease can be managed in a number of ways including combinations of medication, immunosuppression therapies and surgery, along with lifestyle and dietary changes.

Douglas said: “I was a fairly regular hospital inpatient, but since I started running regularly I have managed to stay hospital free, which is a huge personal triumph.

“Crohn's and Colitis UK have been a lifeline to me and many thousands of people suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Like other charities, the cancellation of many charity running events this year have had a significant detrimental impact on the donations that they receive. This shortfall in donations unfortunately comes just at the time that we need them most.”