During Riki Therivel’s recent fascinating talk to Sustainable Witney on the subject of the Oxfordshire Woodfuel Programme (of which she is Manager) the subject of community woodlands was mentioned. Riki is keen to see such woodlands set up in a sustainable way wherever possible. Here in Witney we are one step ahead! We already have a community woodland, located between Deer Park Road and Range Road on the west side of the town. It’s managed by Witney Woodland Volunteers – a group of enthusiastic local people who regularly work at the site to increase its biodiversity and its value as a peaceful haven open to everyone. WWV have a long-term legal agreement with West Oxfordshire District Council to manage the site (formerly a fly-tipped buffer zone between the industrial and the housing estate) and since 2010 have been busy planting:
- hundreds of trees and lots of new native hedgerows
- an orchard of Oxfordshire heritage fruit trees
- a hazel copse
- wildflower meadows and butterfly banks
- a shallow scrape to support aquatic species
If you fancy getting involved, check out the website at http://www.witneywood.org.uk where you’ll see photos of what’s happening at the new woodland plus on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/witneywoodland
I’ve been involved with the group since its inception and can recommend the benefits (fresh air, exercise, fun, plus a sense of achievement). We go out on Monday mornings at 10 a.m. to work either at Deer Park Wood, as it’s known, or on projects elsewhere in Witney to improve the town’s natural environment. Why not come and join us?