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.

Longwood Community Woodland group - Event - Loretta Wigfall

Research and reports on community woodlands

Interest in community woodlands has grown steadily in Wales in the last two decades. There is now an interesting body of written work on the development of community woodlands in Wales.

A recent potted history

So, a little bit of history…. devolution in 1997 was followed in 2001 by the Welsh Government’s Woodlands for Wales strategy which included ‘Woodlands for People’ as one of the three main objectives.

In 2001 the Cydcoed programme was launched by the Forestry Commission Wales and Tir Coed – a £16 million project funded by the European Union which ran until 2008 and provided funding for 163 community groups in North, West and South Wales.

Cydcoed resulted in a ‘boom’ in community woodland activity; many groups appreciated the 100% funding and the hands-on support of the Cydcoed officers and a lot of groups were established in the period from 2003 to 2008. Sadly not all those groups have survived.

In 2007 a dedicated Woodlands for People team was set up in Forestry Commission Wales to implement this policy. The work of this team has led to the development of the Woodlands and You scheme (WaY) which enables communities to access the Welsh Government estate.

The Forestry Commission  strategies mentioned had a five year timeline and were due for refresh in 2012. The Welsh Government however were keen to bring together the statutory environmental and land owning bodies in Wales – Environment Agency, Forestry Commission Wales and Countryside Council for Wales – into one body.   Following a period of consultation from late 2011, this led to the creation of National Resources Wales (NRW) on 1st April 2013. At the same time a small Forestry Strategy team was created within Welsh Government to provide strategic oversight on forestry matters. NRW is starting to review it’s inherited plans and work streams, and so is a key partner for LlyG to engage with going forward.

Key publications on community woodlands

Key research and reports on community woodlands in Wales:

Consultation on Future of Community Woodlands in Wales, Llais y Goedwig, 2015

The Woodlands & You scheme in Wales – Understanding uptake by communities, Llais y Goedwig, 2014

Community Involvement -Management of Local Authority Woodlands Wales, Llais y Goedwig, 2014

Woodland Trust Site transfer in Wales – Can Communities be more Engaged, Llais y Goedwig, 2014

Beauty, friends, power, money: navigating the impacts of community woodlands’, Forest Research, July 2014

Current approaches to supporting and working with communities on the National Forest Estate, Feb 2014, Forest Research

Woodland Social Enterprise in Wales Data Baseline Report, Shared Assets, March 2014

A framework for sharing experiences of community woodland groups, Forest Research, Aug 2013

Community Ownership for Woodland Management and Creation, Woodland Trust, June 2011

Community Involvement with Woodlands, Welsh Government 2010

Wavehill Report – A Survey of Community Woodland Groups in Wales, Sept 2010

Wavehill Report – Case studies of Welsh Woodlands, Sept 2010

What does Community Forestry mean in a Devolved Great Britain, International Forestry Review 2009

Community Woodlands Baseline Report Wales, Forest Research, March 2009

An evaluation of Cydcoed – the benefits of using Woodlands for Community Development in Wales, Forest Research, Feb 2008

Case studies by community groups in Wales

Every community woodland is unique. Learning about community woodlands from the experience of groups who have ‘been there’ is a great way to learn more.

Llais y Goedwig encourages community woodland groups in Wales to share their experiences – in their own words. This has resulted in a series of case studies, which are published as part of growing collection of Llais y Goedwig publications. These publications also feature a series of advisory notes covering different elements of community woodland experience.








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