Community Woodlands Under Spotlight at Great Yorkshire Show
Community woodlands were the focus of the prestigious forestry trophy at the Great Yorkshire Show.
The John Boddy Award for Forestry celebrates and rewards excellence in forestry creation, design and management in Yorkshire, with a different theme each year and this year focuses on community woodlands.
The 2023 title has been won by York Community Woodland, owned by the City of York Council and tenanted by Forestry England.
The Award is organised and judged by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, Royal Forestry Society and Forestry Commission.
York Community Woodland was established after the council purchased
78ha of land on the city’s urban fringe in 2020, with outline objectives to sequestrate residual carbon, enhance biodiversity and to improve the health and wellbeing of residents.
Forestry England was selected as the management and delivery partner for the woodland creation site in 2021, with a long-term 120-year lease and partnership arrangement through the Forestry England Woodland Partnership. An extensive programme of public and stakeholder engagement took place and supported the community co-design of the new woodland, ensuring local priorities and concerns were reflected in the woodland plan and long-term management.
More than 400 local people and 30 local stakeholder groups with specialist skills and interests took part in the design process, which included woodland walks and specialist talks, ensuring an inclusive and firm foundation for this long-term community amenity. A design competition for local schools ensured the input of young people.
Volunteer tree planting events and guided visits to site have been well attended by the local community whilst the woodland is being established.
City of York Council secured several grants in support of the project, including Forestry Commission’s Woodland Creation Planning Grant and the White Rose Forest’s Trees for Climate revenue grant to support the York Community Woodland core team.
The entries were judged by Charles Mills, representing the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, Ben Scotting, representing the Royal Forestry Society, and Sam Cooper, representing the Forestry Commission.
Ben Scotting, the chairman of the Yorkshire Division of the Royal Forestry Society said;
‘The York Community Woodland is a sizable undertaking and is well-connected to the city through a well-used cycleway and bridleways. However, the judges were also impressed by the thought that had gone into creating woodlands which minimised the use of plastic tree tubes and provided an environment in which the newly planted trees could not only thrive on former arable fields but be protected from deer browsing. This type of thinking and implementation is key as managers of woodlands look for plastic-free alternatives into the future.’
The site has been planted with a mixture of native and non-native species with the aim to create a native woodland, with scope to harvest faster growing species initially as the woodland develops.
Three other schemes were named as finalists. These were Crossfield Lane, City of Doncaster Council; Peat Rigg, Tees Valley Community Foundation c/o Peat Rigg Outdoor Centre; and Queen Elizabeth II Community Woodland, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council.
• The Great Yorkshire Show is England’s premier agricultural event, organised by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS), a registered charity supporting rural Yorkshire.
• YAS supports and promotes the farming industry through health care, business, education and scientific research.
• The Society is supported by its family of businesses including Fodder, Yorkshire Event Centre, Pavilions of Harrogate and the Harrogate Caravan Park as well as events Great Yorkshire Show and Springtime Live.
• Businesses and events held at the Great Yorkshire Showground in 2019 contributed £73.7 million to the economy.
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