ICE and a slice of victory for gin companies as efforts are made to preserve ancient juniper plants on Painswick Beacon.

Juniper, which is the key ingredient used to make gin, is in decline due to factors such as under-grazing as well as a lack of habitat for young plants, but now a new and deadly disease threatens to wipe out the plant nationwide.

The scheme to preserve the under-threat juniper population on the Painswick Beacon has been funded by No.3 London Dry Gin, which has awarded a £1,000 grant to project organisers Plantlife, the UK’s leading wild plant charity.

Juniper, one of Britans’ oldest plants, has almost disappeared from the area with only 70 plants left in pockets across the whole site.

Painswick Beacon Conservation Group, Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group South West, Natural England and the landowner have joined forces to link two isolated juniper colonies on the Painswick Beacon through a programme of scrub and tree clearance and the creation of scrapes for juniper seedlings to colonise.

Tim Wilkins, species recovery coordinator at Plantlife, said: “Juniper has been steadily declining over the last few decades and without action now it actually faces extinction across Gloucestershire and much of lowland England within 50 years.

“Plantlife have launched various juniper conservation projects across the UK but and we’re absolutely thrilled that No.3 is bolstering our efforts in these ways.”

Mike Mackenzie, of No.3 London Dry Gin, said: “Juniper is very much at the heart of our gin so it’s entirely appropriate that we support Plantlife’s activities to save the plant.”