Following the phenomenal success of The Woodland Trust’s ‘Woods on your Doorstep’ project, the Trust is placing an increasing emphasis on inspiring people of all ages and backgrounds to learn about the importance and benefits of trees, and providing opportunities for people to enjoy woodlands and to play an active part in planting and caring for them.
One immediate result from the ‘Woods on your Doorstep’ project was an increase in calls to the Trust for help in acquiring, planning and managing local community woods. The response was to set up the Community Woodland Network. Restore UK has helped fund the three year development phase of the project, enabling the Woodland trust to test and implement mechanisms through which they can provide: Outreach to woodland management groups; advice and guidance on aspects of ecology; woodland management; health and safety and technical support; access to training, equipment and group insurance; a forum to encourage groups to share experiences and give mutual support; and legal frameworks for groups wishing to operate leasehold or management agreements.
Over 260 local woodland management groups from across England and Wales are now actively involved in the Network. The helpline responds to 40-50 phone calls, emails and letters each month and circulates a quarterly newsletter to keep groups up to date on issues and events. The website is supplemented by mini-websites promoting individual groups and mutual support between groups is growing.
Community Woodland Network group, Pepper Wood.
Photo: © WT Picture Library