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Community woodland 2018

This Award encourages and reward projects involving community woodland – urban or rural - which has been established and managed in a way which is sustainable and beneficial to the landscape, the local people, biodiversity and the economy in both the short and long term.

 Community Gold Hoefswill Taylor And Stephen Coffey From Hoef In A Meadow In One Of Their Memorial Woods Credit Rfs C Reid Eifcommunitygold2018 Hoef Crfsbrianmartin 
Heart of England Forest Forestry Officer Will Taylor and Head Forester Stephen Coffey in one of the new woodlands  Will Taylor, centre, receives the award with, from left, RFS President Andrew Woods, RFS Gloucestershire Division Chair Rob Guest and, on the right, architect/presenter Piers Taylor


In 2018 the Gold Award was presented to 

Dorsington Estate on the Worcestershire/ Warwickshire borders owned by the Heart of England Forest

The Heart of England Forest's vision is to create a joined-up, sustainable, native broadleaved forest of 30,000 acres, for the benefit of both people and wildlife, stretching from the ancient borders of the Forest of Arden to the edge of the Vale of Evesham.

Judges were impressed by the bold vision for the overall Heart of England Forest, but also by how the woodlands had become thriving assets for the local communities with a wide range of forms of engagement by local groups and volunteers. There was ample evidence of their commitment to enhancing biodiversity through their approach to woodland creation and management.

The Heart of England Forest aims to enhance biodiversity, working with local wildlife groups, an owl group and Warwick Natural History Society to monitor progress; their 15 miles of walking trails are open all year round to benefit  local people and they have a strong volunteer programme which strengthens the community and brings a sense of ownership and inclusion with the management of the forest. Volunteer jobs can vary from tree planting, thinning, nursery management, vegetation clearance, habitat establishment, surveying, helping on open days and events, monitoring the walking routes and acting as ambassadors for the forest. In 2017 volunteers completed 6,731 hours between them.