More than 500 campaigners fighting plans for a second runway at Gatwick held a bulldozer at bay in a symbolic gesture of opposition on Saturday.
Campaigners fear two runways could be built
There were angry cries of "no way Gatwick runway" at the protest rally, which coincided with the end of the government's consultation to assess public opinion on the plans.
Some of the campaigners even lay in front of the bulldozer as it was held at bay at the entrance to the wood, at a point known locally as Edolphs Copse.
Protesters claim up to two more runways could destroy a 185-acre area of ancient woodland, rich in wildlife, as well as the village of Charlwood.
It's fairly jubilant because it's a nice sunny day but there is definitely anger about anybody building a runway
Buildings dating back to Saxon and Medieval times could be lost, they say.
The Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) and the Woodland Trust, which
owns the woodland under threat, staged the protest.
GACC committee member Peter Barclay said: "We have got over 500 people including families and children. It is a real community assembly.
"It's fairly jubilant because it's a nice sunny day but there is definitely anger about anybody building a runway."
GACC claims the plans would see 25 times more earth being excavated than at
The Trust's policy director Hilary Alison added: "Our purpose is serious. We cannot afford to see people's and wildlife's homes destroyed.
"Two new runways at Gatwick would involve the loss of over 185 acres of ancient woodland."
The Woodland Trust was also using the event to highlight the loss of woodland across the UK.