Community Woodlands

Community woodlands are growing in number in Wales. Some groups own or lease their woodlands, others manage them with the landowner.

Each community has its own story to tell.

Organisations that support community woodlands

Sources of advice & help

Looking after a community woodland can be daunting. Luckily, in addition to the support provided by Llais y Goedwig such as as Resources and the Enquiry service, there are many organisations in Wales that can offer advice and support.

Depending on what it wants to do, a community woodland group may need advice on woodland management (tree planting, thinning, felling), on wildlife and biodiversity, on health and safety or arts and theatre. The support that a group needs also changes over time – as the group becomes more experienced and as its activities evolve.

Please see below for a summary of the key forestry and environmental organisations in Wales that may be able to provide support or advice for community woodland activities.

Please do let Llais y Goedwig know of any other organisations.

Community Land Advisory Service An impartial, collaborative service aiming to increase community access to land across the UK.

Coed Cymru A partnership of organisations dedicated to bringing Welsh broadleaf woodlands into sustainable management. Founded in 1985, Coed Cymru gives free help and advice on the sensitive management of woodlands and the sustainable use of woodland products. Coed Cymru is funded by NRW, local authorities, National Parks and the Welsh Government. Coed Cymru officers are located across Wales, often in local authority or national park offices.

Coed Lleol The Welsh branch of the SmallWoods Association, with over 160 small woodland owners who are members based in Wales. Coed Lleol’s main focus is research into the health benefits of woodlands with a project called Actif Woods Wales,  a partnership initiative with steering group of representatives from Natural Resources Wales, the Woodland Trust/Coed Cadw, Wildlife Trusts Wales, Tir Coed, Llais y Goedwig, the Health Service in Wales, and representatives of community woodland groups and self employed foresters. Funded by the Big Lottery from 2013-2016 it specifically aims to improve the health and well-being of people suffering from chronic ill-health conditions by exploring woodland. Previous Coed Lleol projects have included support in setting up Llais y Goedwig, and various publications.

Communities First A Welsh Government programme that covers designated local ward areas that suffer from levels of deprivation. Provides support to 22 Communities First Clusters in local wards in deprived areas of Wales. Able to support funding applications that help the residents of these 22 Clusters (Tackling Poverty Small Grants Fund – for community events that support healthy living or training for jobs). Useful to make contact with Communities First for training courses or finding volunteers

Community Woodlands Association (Scotland) A representative body of Scotland’s community woodland groups. The CWA website is a good source of information and contacts on community woodlands. One of the benefits of membership is a lively Yahoo group where you can directly contact other community woodland groups across Scotland.

Confor A UK wide membership organisation that promotes sustainable forestry and low-carbon businesses.

Coppicewood College A college that promotes and supports sustainable woodland management and runs courses (short courses and a part time 6 month course) in coppicing Courses start in September and carry on throughout the winter.

Cynnal Cymru A national networking organisation that enables people to learn from each other and discover interesting good practice projects in Wales.

Environment Wales A national partnership organisation in the voluntary sector, funded by the Welsh Government. Main aim is to contribute to sustainable development by supporting and encouraging voluntary action to protect and improve the environment. A team of EW Development Officers across Wales provide advice and support to community and voluntary groups. EW operates 5 grant streams to support community groups carry out environmental activities.

Federation of City Farms & Gardens A UK wide organisation that supports, represents and promotes community-managed farms and gardens across the UK. FCFCG’s programme in Wales called Tyfu Pobl (Growing People).

Forest School Wales A national organisation that aims to deliver sustainable Forest School provision, supported by a members’ network.

Green Valleys Community Interest Company A community run organisation by members in and around the Brecon Beacons National Park. Aims to inspire and support communities to work together to reduce carbon emissions, generate income and deliver social and environmental benefits within those communities. This includes the set up and support of community woodlands.

Groundwork Wales A national organisation that works alongside communities, public bodies, private companies and voluntary sector organisations to improve open space, help people gain new skills and build strong communities.

Gwerin y Coed The Woodcraft Folk in Wales organise weekly group meetings for young people to develop ideas and share opportunities including camping.

Institute of Chartered Foresters A UK wide Royal Chartered body for forestry and arboricultural and leading authority on forestry and tree management.

Keep Wales Tidy A national organisation that works to encourage local action to protect and enhance the environment of Wales. They run projects that support community woodland work such as the Long Forest Community Hedgerow Project and recognise their efforts with iniatives such as their Green Flag Awards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Local Authorities Local government boroughs that can provide support through access to land and project work. Staffing varies from authority to authority but many have a Countryside Officer or Coed Cymru officer. Local biodiversity officers are also a good contact as each local authority has to have a LBAP (Local Biodiversity Action Plan) covering habitat in their area and can offer advice. Local Authorities in Wales do not have a dedicated scheme for community involvement in management of their woodlands but many are increasingly open to being approached by community woodland groups.

Living Woods magazine A specialist magazine covers everything from rural woodcrafts, to building with wood and using wood for heating, as well as forestry, buying a woodland and planting new woods.

National Association of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (NAAONB). A Charity whose membership is composed of organisations and individuals who care about our Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The NAAONB is the voice of the AONB partnerships. Supports community woodland development through schemes such as the ‘Community Energy Peer to Peer Mentoring Partnership’ – a series of training events to support woodland management undertaken by community and social enterprise groups.

Natural Resources Wales The national single environment body for Wales, bringing together what was Forestry Commission Wales, Countryside Council for Wales and Environment Agency in Wales. The implementation body for environmental management of natural resources– putting policy into practice. Runs a number of specific forestry and woodland programmes, including Woodlands and You (WaY) to encourage greater community use of the national forestry estate. Local forestry and recreation staff are useful contacts.

Outdoor Learning Wales (formally the Forest Education Initiative)  A UK wide organisation that aims to increase the understanding and appreciation, particularly among young people, of the environmental, social, and economic potential of trees, woodlands and forests and of the link between the tree and everyday wood products.

Royal Forestry Society A UK wide organisation to further the appreciation, understanding and knowledge of trees, woods and forests

SmallWoods Association A UK wide charity promoting and supporting the wellbeing of small woods (up to 250 acres). Founded in 1988 and based at the GreenWood Centre in Shropshire. SmallWoods is a membership association – members receive the quarterly SmallWoods magazine, invitations to events and practical training courses (eg coppice management), lots of information about woodland management a free half day advisory visit.

The Centre for Alternative Technology An organisation that aims to empower people to live a more sustainable life, based near Machynlleth in Powys. This includes post graduate, short, and school courses and practical onsite examples on specialisms such as traditional wood craft skills and sustainable woodland managment.

The Woodland Trust/Coed Cadw The UK’s Leading woodland conservation charity aims to plant and protect native woodlands. It has recently committed itself to a new strategic objective to develop a community woodland culture across the UK. They are interested in hearing from community groups who wish to be more involved in the management of its woodlands. The Woodland Trust/Coed Cadw also distributes free tree seedling packs to communities and schools (the largest is 420 saplings). Its MOREwoods scheme contributes 60% of project tree planting costs (minimum 0.5 ha).

Tir Coed An organisation based in the South West that aims to improve the quality of life for rural communities in Wales using woodlands for social, economic and environmental enrichment. Current three year project, funded by Big Lottery, is VINE (Volunteering In the Natural Environment), developing three sustainable community woodland groups across mid west Wales.

Tree Council A UK wide charity for trees, promoting their importance in a changing environment.

Wales Council For Voluntary Action (WCVA) A national partnership in the voluntary sector, funded by the Welsh Government – aims to contribute to sustainable development by supporting and encouraging voluntary action to protect and improve the environment.

Wales Environment Link (WEL) The national voice of the voluntary sector – represents and campaigns for voluntary organisations, volunteers and communities and manages a range of grant programmes.

Wales Forest Business Partnership A national forum that runs initiatives Woodsource Wales, Woodfuel Wales, Woodknowledge Wales, supporting the Welsh Forest Business Industry.

Wildlife Trusts Wales The national umbrella body for the six local Wildlife Trusts based in Wales. Their role is to protect wildlife and wild places for future generations.

Welsh Government The National devolved Government for Wales and has powers over environment and land use in Wales devolved from the main UK Government, including forestry. Has a small Forest Policy team, provides oversight of NRW and manages the distribution of EU funding that comes into Wales, such as funds for the Rural Development Plan – including the agri-forestry scheme, Glastir (which provides grants for woodland creation and management).

Woodland Skills Centre A centre that promotes and supports sustainable woodland management, education and health and wellbeing. Located in the heart of an “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty” ( AONB ) in the Clwydian Hills in Denbighshire, they offer a wide range of woodland courses to suit all ages, abilities and interests.

Woodlands.co.uk A family run business – sells woodland throughout the UK. Also provides a variety of resources to support small woodland owners. This organisation also has a number of woodlands which it intends to retain for 10-20 years – it is keen for local communities to be involved in the management of these woods. In addition it hosts a community woodlands online forum to put community woodland groups in touch with owners who are interested in allowing groups to use their woods.

 

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