Llais y Goedwig reports out now – Working with Major Landowners

Posted on April 27, 2015 by

A great working relationship between a community group and a woodland owner is at the heart of many vibrant community woodlands.

Many small private landowners have welcomed community groups into their woodlands, now recent work by Llais y Goedwig has looked at the welcome extended to communities by three big institutions: Natural Resources Wales (NRW), Coed Cadw/Woodland Trust in Wales, and Local Authorities.

NRW – Woodlands and You

In 2011 NRW (then Forestry Commission Wales) launched a great scheme called Woodlands and You (WaY) which enables community groups to gain long term access to the Welsh Government Woodland Estate for projects, events and activities.

So how many community groups have taken advantage of WaY since it was launched to develop more complex projects involving longer-term management activity and enterprises? In collaboration with NRW, Llais y Goedwig took a close look at WaY – we found that uptake was ‘low’ and ‘disappointing.’ Our ‘best guess’ estimate is 13 management agreements and leases approved since the start of WaY (and 6 currently in negotiation).

Read a summary of the report here

Download the full report – including our analysis and recommendations – here

The good news is that NRW is now establishing a dedicated team to develop, support and actively promote the scheme – rebranding it as ‘Mynediad’, and extending opportunities to all its managed land. The Team Leader will be in post shortly, and will be blogging here later this year!


The Woodland Trust (Coed Cadw)

The Woodland Trust is also keen to encourage communities, organisations and individuals to take on the management of some of its woods through negotiated leases and management agreements. How is this site transfer programme going ? The Trust was keen for Llais y Goedwig to find out. The programme is at an early stage and to date only one community group has an agreement and a second is in the process of signing a lease. The good news is that the Trust has identified 23 woodlands in Wales with good access and close to communities that could be targeted for future community engagement.

Read a summary of the report here

Download the full report – including our analysis and recommendations – here


Local Authorities

The majority of community woodland groups in Wales are on Local Authority owned land. There are some great local initiatives across Wales – and a huge variety of activities and voluntary groups doing amazing things. But is there potential for more community involvement? We talked to 22 Local Authorities and community groups to find out. 81% of Local Authorities reported that communities are involved in the management of their woodlands in Wales; most commonly as volunteers or as Friends of Groups. The good news is that 67% of Local Authority respondents said community involvement was a viable model for Local Authority woodland management.

Read a summary of the report here

Download the full report – including our analysis and recommendations – here

The long term stability of community groups (contrasted with Town Councils for instance), and public access and liability issues were cited as drawbacks to greater involvement. In Powys, the drive to save funds has greatly increased the Council’s desire to enter into agreements and leases.


Our hearty thanks to everyone who took part in these three surveys – much appreciated. The Llais y Goedwig Board will now be collating these recommendations to inform strategic future planning. Watch this space!


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