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© Colin Barr

Share Wood

Establishing two community managed woodlands at Oxen Park and Bouth that provide materials for a variety of products including craft items and woodfuel.

The Share Wood project has reached out to the local community and highlighted the need to manage and maintain this stunning, diverse and rich wooded environment.

Through education and sharing of knowledge, community volunteers learnt about the positive relationship between people and their natural environment. By teaching practical management skills, community volunteers helped to restore coppices, improve the woods for wildlife, utilise harvested wood, and ensure woodland sustainability, whilst also providing social and general well-being benefits.

Achievements:

  • A core group of volunteers regularly met to help with various woodland management activities and learn traditional skills.
  • Through dedication, and a newly-found passion, the community has become increasingly proud of their heritage and landscapes.
  • Share Wood has motivated changes for the future that will have a positive impact on the people, environment and wildlife.

There are now two community woodland groups:

The members of both Share Wood groups managed their woodlands with the following priorities;

  • Restore woodland coppice.
  • Train volunteers in woodland management skills.
  • Organise volunteer days.
  • Provide employment for local contractors.
  • Monitor wildlife and maintain habitats.
  • Install bird boxes for nesting.
  • Harvest wood for fuel.
Images:
works to divert the runoff from the track

So far so good...

  • 17 passionate locals involved in the Community Woodland project at Old Hall Woods. Bouth and 10 at 'TOPS' wood. Bessie Bank. near Oxen Park.
  • 47 volunteers committed and engaged.
  • 23 volunteers trained in woodland management.
  • 0.3ha of coppice restored.
  • 20 tonnes of wood harvested.
  • Regular work parties carried out access improvements and woodland restoration.
  • 3 new coppice areas in Old Hall Wood created, opening up glades for wildlife and multi-age stands.
  • 30 dormouse boxes installed and monitored in Old Hall Wood.
  • 12 bird boxes installed. 
  • New roadside path made from Snows turn to 'loading bay' in Old Hall Wood.
  • Wall gap re-built in Old Hall Wood with drainage and stepping stones from 'Coffin Road' along bottom of wood.
  • Woodland education sessions with local school established.
  • Drainage improved on lower path near Old Hall Farm to divert run-off from Dick Hill Green Road.
  • New bench installed on lower path in Old Hall Wood, and another repaired.

Did you know?

  • There are over 700 community woodland groups in the UK helping to manage our woodland.
  • Old Hall Woods in Bouth covers 37ha, 28ha being broadleaf.
  • Over 100 products can be made from a coppice coup.

Media

  • Watch (1 video)

    Share Wood Bouth

    So far.......a short film on the work of the Share Wood group at Old Hall Wood, Bouth

Project Lead

Rusland Horizons Staff Team

The Challenge

Local communities are under threat.  There is a growing disconnect between people and the natural environment, farming and the landscape they live in. This is accompanied by an increased number of second home owners who are often away from the area and people living sedentary lifestyles. The long-established working relationship between people and nature is essential to the long-term sustainability of the tranquil, Rusland Horizons scheme area.

Woodlands in the area have been undermanaged.  This has changed their character, resulting in even-aged stands of trees that would all reach maturity at the same time. This makes the woodland vulnerable in future when the trees age and begin to die. Habitat structure is also declining, leading to loss of species. Sudden losses can occur through strong winds or disease, threatening the future viability of the woodland.

Our Approach

We worked with local people to set up and coordinate community groups that can support future sustainability and management of woodlands in the area. By providing access to information, equipment, expertise and woodland sites we have increased the number of woodlands managed by communities.

The community has developed a better understanding of how land management decisions are made whilst improving their wildlife monitoring skills and awareness of biodiversity. They have been given the practical skills, and opportunity, to learn about local heritage and their surrounding landscapes. With an increased understanding of woodfuel practices within the community, this should hopefully now lead to a local, sustainable source of firewood.

© Rusland Horizons 2017 - 2019. All rights reserved.
Rusland Horizons was a Landscape Partnership funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund until July 2019. It is now being delivered by The Rusland Horizons Trust Limited. Company No. 2133450; Charity No. 519410; Registered Office: Bleacott Farm, Witherslack, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria LA11 6RZ.

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