copyright of Common Ground

You have a motley band of eager volunteers. But do you have a wood? You don’t have to buy one - that is a very expensive option - as there are a number of other ways you can secure access to a woodland, from leasing it off a Local Authority or Parish Council through to agreeing management rights with a private land owner, often with little financial outlay. One organisation that it is worth getting in touch with to find out if they have any woodlands in need of some TLC is the Woodland Trust, who look after woodlands all over England and can often do with a helping hand.

Once you have secured access to the woodland, what do you do with it - manage it for biodiversity or for timber? Who do you let have access to it - everybody or just the volunteers? What other uses would you like to offer - Forest Schools or green wood working? There are lots of questions to answer. Perhaps the best place to start is with a woodland survey and preparing a woodland management plan. This can be done by the group or perhaps with the help of someone with experience, like Small Woods Association, Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group or Dorset Wildlife Trust. It is also a good idea to get in touch with the Forestry Commission - the government organisation responsible for managing all the rules and regulations regarding woodland - to get the latest information and advice.

It’s likely that some of what you will want to do will cost money, so funding is a key element that will enable you to do what you want. It’d be worth getting in touch with Ian Rees, Dorset AONB Countryside Officer: 01305 228235 or i.rees@dorsetcc.gov.uk to discuss what funding opportunities there may be out there, including our own Sustainable Development Fund.

 Case studies

Making the most of wood fuel at Prime Coppice, West Dorset Outdoor education with Dorset Forest School

(c) Forestry Commission
Llais y Goedwig

Case studies from Llais y Goedwig Understanding Woodland Management at the Wyre Forest

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