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EiF Community Forest Award

 2015 - RFS Excellence in Forestry Community Woodlands Award

This Award encourages and rewards projects involving community woodlands and forests which have been established and managed in a way that is sustainable and beneficial to the landscape, the local people, biodiversity and the economy in both the short and long term.

The Gold Award was won by Warren Woods at Bodfari, Denbigh, owned by Rod Waterfield. The Silver Award was won by Treborth Botanic Gardens at Treborth, owned by Bangor University.


Gold Award: Warren Woods at Bodfari, Denbigh, owned by Rod Waterfield

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South Wales Division Chairman David Jones Powell, left, with owner Rod Waterfield, centre, and RFS President Sir Jack Whitaker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This 20ha site includes an old sand quarry and has been owned by the Waterfield family for 32 years. The woodland is in the heart of the Clwydian Range AONB and adjoins the Offa's Dyke Path. There are no public rights of way but the wood is open under permissive access at all times. There is an agreement with Warren Woods Ltd, a not-for-profit Social Enterpise company trading as a Woodland Skills Centre which enables the woods to be used for many activities; there is a long term agreement with Denbigh Scout Group and the woods are used by Forest Schools.There is also an emphasis on biodiversity and on income streams from woodland products and activities.

What the judges said: "This inspirational entry demonstrated what community woodlands should be all about, providing a wide range of resources for all sorts of local groups and individuals, including school pupils, young people and adults with special needs, local long-term unemployed, based on an economically viable model."

What the owner said: "We have always wanted to share our woodlands with other people and, from the day we bought the Warren Woods, we have had three management objectives - all equal - social, environmental and economic. By having the Woodland Skills Centre on our land we are able to meet the social objective. Last year the Centre ran about 250 days of actvities including courses in traditional crafts, work with schools, children and families and a range of health and well-being programmes with people with problems and disabilities." 

 


Silver Award: Treborth Botanic Gardens at Bangor University

 

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South Wales Division Chairman David Jones Powell with Gerry Downing from Friends of Treborth Botanic Gardens and RFS President Sir Jack Whitaker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 15ha woodlands at the Treborth Botanic Garden are managed to improve its diversity and encourage its use by all visitors, particularly local school children, for their inspiration, education and enjoyment.The work is performed by volunteers from the community who meet twice weekly and are regularly helped by Bangor University students who hold monthly work parties with the Friends of Treborth Botanic Garden.The wood borders the mainland side of the Menai Strait in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Its deciduous and coniferous woodlands reflect its origin as an Edwardian estate.

What the judges said: "The intimate mosaic of woodland site types, a product of the complex geology, is managed to improve its species and structural diversity by the ably led team of volunteers... The judges were impressed by the commitment and enthusiasm, not to mention the planning and hard work put in on a regular basis by the Friends of Treborth Botanic Garden, with the help of Bangor University students.  As might be expected, very high marks were scored for education, community involvement, and accessibility to the public.

What the owners said: "Over the last five years the woodland at TBG has been transformed from a dark, dank and dismal place serviced by a few muddy paths to a living, breathing community woodland with Forest Schools, red squirrels and some 35,000 visitors annually enjoying the rejuvenated space.The coming of the Wales Coast Path and funding from the Better Woodlands for Wales scheme has helped the Friends of TBG achieve this transformation and further their aims to 'Conserve, Educate and Inspire' all visitors to enjoy this special site alongside the Menai Strait. The RFS Silver award represents a valued and rewarding endorsement of these efforts."

 

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