John Spedan Lewis was a passionate naturalist. He developed and worked to build the foundation of Leckford Estate. Whilst living on the Estate, he studied the flora and fauna that was attracted to places such as The Longstock Park Water Garden.
In 1955, he retired as chairman to celebrate his work. It was agreed that a fund should be raised to continue the study of natural history projects at Leckford Estate. The John Spedan Lewis Trust for the Advancement of the Natural Sciences was established, with the purpose of 'advancing the cause of education and promoting research into the study and knowledge of the natural sciences'.
After his death in 1963, John Spedan Lewis’ wish came to life and Leckford Estate became a natural history study centre, celebrating his findings and his wish. The Partnership gave the trust a small building (the old Leckford bath-house), which became a laboratory and field centre.
It was agreed that amateur specialists who were fully qualified should be supported to make collections and keep records of the flora and fauna that homed and visited Leckford Estate.
Since then, many experts have been enticed by Leckford Estate and have visited to examine and study the wide range of organisms on the Estate and the Trust Reserves. This data consists of a range of over 60 years covering flowers, butterflies, spiders, flies, beetles, fungi, mosses and just about anything else!
The work of the trust to this day has ensured that the name of John Spedan Lewis and his work has continued to live on in ways that he only once could have dreamed of.