A DERELICT cottage near Nomansland is to be transformed into a residential education centre for young people.

Planning approval for Cameron's Cottage, which is located at the RSPB woodland reserve in the area, was granted by New Forest National Park Authority.

The charity says it will be an "immersive outdoor learning retreat by 2021".

The new cottage is being renovated as a legacy to 16-year-old naturalist Cameron Bespolka, from Winchester, who died in an accident in 2013.

Cameron, an avid nature lover, ignited his passion for conservation at a similar outdoor retreat in Florida at the age of fifteen.

Cameron’s Cottage will provide accommodation and research facility for schools, colleges, universities and small groups.

The project is a partnership between the RSPB and the Cameron Bespolka Trust.

RSPB spokesperson, Beth Markey, said: “It has never been more critical to engage young people in nature. Absolutely everyone has a connection to the environment, whether it’s simply strolling in the forest or taking an active interest in the welfare of animals. Unfortunately, many don’t realise it because they haven’t had the opportunity to engross themselves in nature, particularly if they’ve grown up in a city.

“Cameron’s Cottage is a truly wonderful venture that provides an unparalleled opportunity for people to completely absorb themselves in trees, plants and wildlife, free from electricity and the bonds of daily life. We are delighted to be working with the Cameron Bespolka Trust, which has an important vision to educate, inspire and open up the leaders of tomorrow to the wonders of nature.”

Cameron's mum and co-founder of the Cameron Bespolka Trust as well as the brainchild behind Cameron’s Cottage, Corrine Cruickshank, added: "Now more than ever children and teens are widely disconnected with their natural outdoor environment and are spending more and more time indoors. We know that nature is important to their development in every way and there is a real need to educate young people as the future guardians of our planet.

"We strongly believe Cameron’s Cottage will offer them a way to experience and appreciate wildlife and the outdoors first-hand.”

Through her own dedicated efforts, and those of friends, family and followers, the trust has raised a whopping £425,000 for Cameron’s Cottage.