Campaigners trying to save a 16th century Maple Cross barn could see donations double in a special fundraising challenge that is being put to the community.

Regeneration charity, Groundwork, has pledged to provide up to £10,000 match-funding towards saving the historic Black Barn, which is located on Woodoaks Farm, in Denham Way.

The 16th century landmark is in urgent need of repair, but plans are afoot to restore it into an environmental asset for the community.

Watford Observer:

Groundwork is championing the project as part of its nationwide X Marks the Spot campaign, and has agreed to match the first £5,000 raised by the community, providing £2 for every £1 donated.

The funds will be used to transform the majestic yet dilapidated barn into a farming heritage centre with a visitor centre, which will act as a gateway to the countryside of the Colne Valley Park. 

It will also be used to uncover a historic chalk pit and surrounding rare habitat, and transform it into an accessible treasured space for the community.

Sally Findlay and her husband, John, own Woodoaks Farm, where the barn is located. The farm dates back to 790AD.

Mrs Findlay, 70, said she believes it is very important to get the barn "up and running again" and to make it available for the local community.

Mr Findlay, 85, grew up on the farm. His wife said she has fond memories of riding to the site as a little girl before she met her husband, whom she married in 1976.

Mrs Findlay said: "It is important that everyone has access to their countryside. Colne Valley Park already offers many footpaths and trails which are regularly used by walkers and birdwatchers, but everyone should have the opportunity to discover, learn about and enjoy the countryside. 

"The creation of the farming heritage centre is important. The more people who take part and become involved in the countryside then the more people will appreciate its importance."  

The crowd funding appeal will run until the August 31 and the project’s leaders are calling for the community to help raise the £5,000 needed to unlock the potential £10,000 Groundwork has pledged.

Stewart Pomeroy, Colne Valley and green spaces team manager of Groundwork South, said: "Local green spaces are known to have a positive impact on people’s lives yet many communities currently miss out on these benefits.

"Colne Valley Park and landmarks such as the Black Barn site must be preserved for the benefits of their communities. We hope the creation of the heritage centre will allow both members of the local community and visitors to the park to learn first-hand how access to green spaces can improve lives.      

"This community is an inspiring example of the work and commitment that X Marks the Spot aims to promote. We are delighted to be supporting their fundraising appeal."

For more information about the Black Barn appeal and to donate visit