Ten new community woodlands to be created in the National Forest
4th Oct 2022
We’re pleased to announce that, thanks to National Lottery players, we have been awarded funding by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to create ten new community woodlands across the National Forest over the next two years.
As well as creating the new woodlands, the National Forest Community Woodlands project will establish ten new community groups to manage and care for the new woodlands, encouraging many more people to engage with the natural world by taking an active role in looking after the trees. Care and management are essential to ensure the healthy long-term future of all woodlands across the National Forest.
We will work in partnership with the Rural Community Council, to engage with local communities that don’t currently have access to woodlands, close to where people live. New woodlands will be jointly designed with communities to meet the needs of local residents which could include providing space for people to meet, community events, outdoor classrooms, volunteering and wellbeing activities.
The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of accessible outdoor spaces for people’s wellbeing with those living in more urban areas being disproportionately affected. Record high temperatures this summer have also highlighted the urgent need for more trees and canopy cover to enable people to find shade and cool areas as global warming impacts become more frequent and extreme.
Each woodland will be registered and identified within the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative, which was established to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and has been extended to be an enduring legacy of her long reign. These woodlands will also be a response to the climate crisis by planting more trees to help absorb carbon and through creating new habitats will enhance biodiversity to provide shelter and food for a rich diversity of wildlife.
Training will be provided on woodland management techniques and to help establish community volunteer groups, which can then join the National Forest Community Woods Network where peer support and mentoring will be available. A bespoke leadership programme will be developed to ensure groups have the skills and capability to provide quality provision for all abilities, and to support them to be sustainable beyond the lifetime of this project.
The National Forest Company is particularly interested in working with communities in more urban and peri-urban areas that can be disproportionally affected by limited access to woodlands and green space. The project aims to ensure that new woodlands created in the National Forest are accessible to everyone.
The project has been awarded £224,228 from the Heritage Fund towards the project, enabling the development of these opportunities thanks to National Lottery players.
We will continue to post updates on our blog as the project progresses, so do check back to find out more. If you’re a community group, someone who would like to get started with a community group, or a landowner in the National Forest, and would like to work with us on this project, then please get in touch.
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