Summary & Outcomes
Enabling a woodland to be taken on by a community group was the aim of this project. Langton Westwood was identified as the woodland to take forward, and a community meeting held in the first year which was well attended. The wood was included in the programme for “A week in the woods” run by the Small Woods Association, covering coppicing, hurdle and charcoal making and woodland crafts.
During the second year, a management plan was completed which included an assessment of the spirit of place and identification of higher level management options. Open days were held in the final year which included volunteer taster sessions in green woodwork and walks and activities exploring how the wood could be managed.
Highlights and challenges
Challenges have resulted from the time taken to fully engage the community and from staff shortages.
Recent progress on the community supported woodland has been pretty good. The project now has a management plan that has the backing of the local community and in fact has been shaped by it. Volunteers have been out in recent weeks working the wood. 0.7ha of woodland has been coppiced for the first time in perhaps 50 years. The pace of this project has kept in line with local requirements. Over the next year and beyond the National Trust will continue to support, train and develop the voluntary group and establish a longer term work plan. The achievements of this project are not to be underestimated: this is a wood highly valued by local people, and achieving change in its care has involved careful and thorough engagement.”