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Everyone's A Winner: Success for First Year of New National Forest Scheme

Monday, 9th February 2009

Successful applicants for the first National Forest Changing Landscapes Scheme have received their certificates at a special presentation event held at The Waterfront, Barton Marina.

The Changing Landscapes Scheme (CLS) enables landowners to create woodland and other wildlife habitats on land of one hectare and above within the 200 square miles of The National Forest.

Lady Gretton, Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire and a National Forest ambassador, presented the certificates to the winning landowners, who are drawn from all three counties of the Forest:  seven from Leicestershire, two from Derbyshire and two from Staffordshire.

The National Forest Company (NFC) launched CLS, a scheme unique to The National Forest, in 2008.  It is a competitive scheme and applications are approved by the NFC Board of Directors according to published selection criteria.  These include: benefits to wildlife and nature conservation; public access and recreation; tree species; contribution to wider National Forest aims, including benefits to people living and working in the Forest area.  Ten farmers or small landowners and one mineral company applied for the scheme last year and all were successful.

Matt Brocklehurst, Forest Development Manager for the National Forest Company said: ‘We have been delighted with the response to the Changing Landscapes Scheme in its first year of operation.  The individuals and businesses who have been successful reflect the growing diversity of landownership today, and it is their support that enables us to continue to create the Forest. The wide ranging nature of these 11 schemes demonstrates the considerable flexibility built into CLS, which makes it attractive to people who not only want to plant trees but also to develop a range of wildlife habitats.  It is especially pleasing that all these schemes are situated next to existing woodland and other habitats; each therefore brings even greater benefit as it helps to extend and connect other habitat networks within the Forest.’

 Key facts about CLS 2008:

  • The 11 schemes contribute an additional 51.5 hectares of woodland and associated habitats to The National Forest, comprising 33.9 hectares of woodland and 17.6 hectares of parkland and other habitats.
  • The average size of application is 4.71 hectares.
  • The average bid price is just under £11,000 per hectare.
  • Schemes will be planted between January and March 2009. 
  • Over 75,000 trees will be planted.
  • 29 different tree and shrub species will feature in the new plantings.
  • They will be mainly native broadleaf species, but with some unusual species such as common osier and wild service tree.
  • Over 50 bat, owl and bird boxes will be installed.
  • Two otter holts will be created along quiet watercourses.
  • One new orchard will be created in a traditional market garden area.
  • 1,400 metres of new species-rich hedgerows will be created.
  • 7,800 square metres of newly created water features including ponds and scrapes.
  • 1,400 metres of new linear water features will be created.
  • Over 10,000 bluebell bulbs to be sown

Schemes of particular interest:

Derbyshire - Staffords Wood

Situated half a mile from Melbourne, this seven hectare site is bordered by farmland and woodland with Ridings Bank, believed to be an ancient trackway, running along the northern boundary. It is thought that Ridings Bank linked Melbourne with St. Brides, a former medieval chapel, and from this vantage point there are extensive views into Derbyshire to the north.  Two micro light aircraft landing strips have been sensitively incorporated into the woodland design plus a picnic area that will offer a relaxing stop for visitors. A new apple orchard is planned for the site using grafts from local trees and an exisiting, mature Hessle Pear orchard is to be restored. A range of conservation measures are to be implemented including the installation of bat and owl boxes, a new hedgerow, a wetland scrape, wildflower sowing and grassland management.

Staffordshire – Harriets Wood

Situated alongside the Trent & Mersey canal near Tatenhill this 6.5 hectare site is bordered by farmland, restored quarry workings, industrial units and has the A38 running close by. With plans to create new native broadleaf woodland and a sizeable wetland pond, this scheme sits well in the landscape with the popular Branston Park Water Park, one of the principal wetland conservation sites in The National Forest, just to the north. Public access will be available via a public right of way to the north west of the site where several walks link from Tatenhill Lock and Branston Water Park. Conservation measures will include the installation of bat and owl boxes, a new hedgerow, planting of National Forest priority species native black poplar and bluebells along with planting reeds and managing existing grassland.

Leicestershire – Old Hayes Wood

Situated amongst newly established woodland plantations, a golf course, agricultural fields and adjoining an Ancient Semi Natural Woodland (ASNW) to the west, this 12.5 hectare site has designs to create new native woodland to complement the ASNW and create parkland habitat to maintain views across the landholding. The Ivanhoe Way runs just to the south of the site and together with other public rights of way in the area and an extensive network of trails in the neighbouring Burroughs wood, offers good access to this historic landscape. Evidence of a parkland ‘pale fence’ and an ancient moat, classified as a scheduled ancient monument, add to the historic interest of the site. As part of the plans to increase the conservation value the design uses the existing landform to create a seasonally wet ditch, which, in turn feeds into low-lying ponds. The wetland habitat will colonise with reed and marginal plants to the benefit of amphibians, insects and potentially the ruddy darter dragonfly. Hedgelaying, along with the installation of bat boxes, owl boxes and bluebell planting, will all serve to benefit biodiversity.     

The next round, CLS 2009, was also launched at the event.  The new scheme is open for applications until midday 20 April 2009.

Anyone with land of one hectare and above in The National Forest who is interested in creating woodland and related wildlife habitats through CLS can contact Matt Brocklehurst at the National Forest Company on 01283 551211.