York Community Woodland project takes next step

Council’s Executive is set to consider proposals for the future design and funding of the York Community Woodland. A report on the feedback received through community engagement, plans for deciding the final design for the area and the process of selection for funding and delivery partner will all be presented to Executive members for decision later next week.


Since the York Community Woodland project started in February 2020, the Council has completed land character assessments, several woodland concept designs and a wide range of community engagement activity - from seed sowing with local primary schools, to a six week long co-design phase in collaboration with the public in May 2021. 

In recent weeks a seven acre field area of the site has been transformed into a wild wood meadow. With help from Woodmeadow Trust and a local farmer, the area was sown with locally harvested wildflower seed from the Lower Derwent Valley National Nature Reserve, together with a ‘nurse crop’ of annual cornfield flowers supplied from Greentech. The biggest benefit of sowing the wildflower seed is its assistance to the land in supressing weeds and cultivating the soil.  This provides a nutrient base for the land to develop as the council focuses on the long term bio-diversity goals of creating a successful wood meadow within the woodland.


Residents can view the stunning footage of the wood meadow in full bloom on the council’s YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/AUvUx5E7Dd4


Last month the community woodland was visited and commended by partners at White Rose Forest and the National Executive of the Forestry Commission, recognising the regional significance and best practise in place throughout the project. Richard Greenhous, Director, Forest Services commended the Woodland Project so far stating: “It was fantastic to see and hear about the plans for York Community Woodland and all the benefits intended for local people, nature and the economy. We at the Forestry Commission look forward to working with City of York Council and their partners to realise this huge potential.”

The woodland project will see the Council work with both the Forestry Commission and White Rose Forest as project partners to ensure best practice is in place throughout the project.


Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of the Council said;

“York's plan of action for carbon reduction is not only for the benefit of our city, but is also a key regional contribution to building a carbon neutral environment across Yorkshire. Our extensive community woodland is a great example of regional partnership between White Rose Forest, Forestry Commission and the Council.

“I look forward to this next project update and hearing about the future opportunities for public engagement, unlocking the site’s potential to provide a new sustainable community space for generations to come.”


Cllr Paula Widdowson, Executive Member for Climate Change and Environment said;

“Tackling climate change isn’t just about reducing our carbon emissions. To address this major challenge we must also think of ways in which we can encourage more bio-diversity and promote habitats where wildlife can thrive – even in our own back gardens.

“The climate emergency requires a holistic approach that reduces carbon, builds community resilience against climate hazards and increases green spaces in the city that can help absorb carbon and provide robust, natural ecosystems. I look forward to an update on the progress of the Community Woodland project and future proposals for the sites development.”

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