2011 RFS Sylva Trophy Winners
- Winners 2011: Burlingham Woods, North Burlingham, owned by Norfolk County Council
Pictured, from left, Andrew Crossley Norfolk County Council’s head of county farms, and Gerry Barnes, environment manager, collect the Sylva Trophy from judge Tim Sawyer and RFS President Anthony Bosanquet
What the judges said:
“The woods form a network of woodland walks extending to some 50 ha linking several parishes, including North Burlingham and Lingwood, Acle, Hemblington and South Walsham. The unique aspect of this entry is the passionate management over many years of Gerry Barnes, who is now the environment manager for the County Council.
“The woodlands had been neglected for many years and have now been brought back into management using good silvicultural practices and marketing of products, including top-quality material for furniture-making. The woods have a wide range of uses and community involvement and are clearly valued highly by residents and neighbouring owners alike.”
What Bill Borrett, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for Environment and Waste said:
“I am delighted that Burlingham Woodland Walks has received special recognition with this excellence award. The woods are a tremendous example of how our beautiful county and its famous landscape continues to evolve. I am also delighted that Norfolk County Council has contributed and that the hard work of our environment team in the management and development of the woods is also acknowledged with this award.
“As thousands of residents and visitors to Norfolk will already know, these woodlands – old and new – are a fantastic amenity, designed to be accessible to as many members of the community as possible.
“Whether you’re interested in landscape history, biodiversity, sculpture or just looking for a healthy walk, I’d encourage people to visit Burlingham Woodlands because they really have something for everyone.”
Gerry Barnes added:
“Among the many positives that have come out of the project is the engagement with the local community. A real community spirit has grown up around how the woodland is managed and developed. The community spirit has even extended to a swap box for books and magazines.”
About Burlingham Woods
The 50ha Burlingham woodlands project has developed since the early 1990s. Seven woodlands have been brought back into management, 12 new woodlands and several orchards have been established and several kilometres of hedgerows planted. More than 10km of new paths, including over a kilometre of mobility access, have opened up access to the public.
Much of the planting has been done by volunteers and the project has engaged the local community in education initiatives. The woods have been used for a number of art projects, and a sculpture trail has been installed of plaques representing a local scene or event. Each year GCSE art students from Acle High School make art installations inspired by natural forms and a human sundial has been installed by a local community group.
Landscape historians at the School of History, University of East Anglia, were involved in an initial appraisal of the area and several of the sites are County Wildlife Sites with management designed to enhance Biodiversity Action Plans.
The hazel is coppiced on a five-year rotation and sold for thatching spars. Timber is sold in a variety of local outlets and in Ipswich.