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20 Questions & Answers to put you in the picture

  1. I hear there is a project to improve the Wyre Forest area, is that right?
  2. Which organizations make up the partnership?
  3. Is the partnership working with the local community?
  4. Why is this being done by a partnership, rather than just by Natural England or the National Trust for example?
  5. Who will pay for the work?
  6. How much funding will be provided by HLF?
  7. How much will it cost in total to deliver ‘Grow With Wyre’?
  8. If the Heritage Lottery Grant is set to grant the Partnership £2 million, where is the rest coming from?
  9. How is the Heritage Lottery Fund monitoring the progress of the Partnership?
  10. How is the Forestry Commission involved?
  11. What sort of improvements to the Wyre landscape can be expected?
  12. How will you help people to discover the history of the area, when it’s so well hidden?
  13. What makes Wyre special?
  14. Any interesting facts?
  15. Who do I contact?
  16. Do you have a website?
    Please may I have more background information about your funders?
  17. Heritage Lottery Fund
  18. SITA Trust
  19. Grantscape

1. I hear there is a project to improve the Wyre Forest area, is that right?
Yes, its called the Grow with the Wyre and it’s actually called a Landscape Partnership Scheme, which means there will be lots of projects, twenty-two in total. There will be a range of events, activities and work programmes, due to start in Autumn 2008, to restore the special landscape and celebrate its rich working history.  For more information about the Grow with the Wyre  projects please contact the project team or see the website www.forestry.gov.uk/growwithwyre

2. Which organizations make up the partnership?
The Forestry Commission is the lead partner but there are other partners, including Natural England, Shropshire County Council, Bewdley Development Trust, Butterfly Conservation, Worcester County Council, Wyre Forest Study Group, Wyre Community Land Trust, Wyre Forest District Council and the National Trust.

3. Is the partnership working with the local community?
Yes, the partners have worked closely with the local community over the part two years and written a plan to improve the area. Now they’re working up these plans so they can start the projects in Autumn 2008.

4. Why is this being done by a partnership, rather than just by Natural England or the National Trust for example?
The organizations have pulled together because they share common goals. By pooling their expertise and resources they can do far more than they would be able to if they were working alone.

5. Who will pay for the work? 
All the partners have put in some money and staff time. They have also managed to secure grants from Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), SITA Trust* and GrantScape. The HLF funding last year enabled the partnership to employ a full time project manager to take the scheme this far. The Forestry commission kept Gail on to work up the projects, in essence she is overseeing the scheme for the next year to take projects to the next stage, by adding detail to the feasibility work and turning them into business plans by the Spring of 2008. 

6. How much funding with be provided by HLF? 
The Partnership received a Stage One Pass and £150,000 Development Grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund in May 2007. This will be used to work on and develop the planned projects from now until spring 2008.
If we get the second ‘thumbs up’ in Spring 2008, we will start the projects in Autumn 2008 using the £1.8 million stage II grant which is currently earmarked for us to restore this special landscape.

7. How much will it cost in total to deliver ‘Grow With Wyre’?
The whole scheme is currently valued at  £3.8 million.

8. If the Heritage Lottery Grant is set to grant the Partnership £2 million, where is the rest coming from?
The Partners are providing money and two other major grants have been secured so far, but we do have a funding gap that we need to fill. Grantscape have pledged nearly £300,000 towards two biodiversity projects and SITA Trust* have given us a grant of £74,000 for the Butterfly Project called Back to Orange. The successful delivery of these early projects should help to attract more funding for Grow with the Wyre.

9. How is the Heritage Lottery Fund monitoring the progress of the Partnership?
Yes, they’ve assigned a monitor to our scheme to help keep us on track and make sure the projects are successfully delivered. SITA Trust and GrantScape distribute monies under the Landfill Communities Fund, so their case officers are keeping an eye on us too.  The Partnership does make sure everyone is up to speed by producing regular reports on our progress, sending out press articles. This autumn we’ll start putting a page in each of the parish magazines to keep the local community up to date with developments.

10. What is the feasibility stage?
This is where the partnership is now, we’re working out the business plans and project details, who, how long, where and when!

The feasibility stage is a bit like you asking your boss to buy you a new desk. Your boss approved it on the understanding you’d provide the details before you ordered it.  The business phase would be where you look at type of desks available and decide on an oak corner desk, with four legs and 6 ft by 2 ft!

11. How is the Forestry Commission (FC) involved?
The FC is the lead partner, contributing staff time, funding and expertise, not to mention timber for the new community Discovery Centre and research advice to drive the scheme forward. The Wyre Forest is really important to the Forestry Commission, they want to see it at its best and give everyone the opportunity to learn about why it’s so special.  

12. What sort of improvements to the Wyre landscape can be expected?
Many improvements will be those that you can see, smell or be able to touch, others will be invisible! For example we will encourage people to interact more with the wooded landscape and to find out more about the story of the woodlands in the area, hedgerows will be restored, better habitat for butterflies will be created and orchards will be restored. You’ll start to notice new hedgerows, clearings and fences, freshly rolled bracken and new saplings appearing, as we strive to make this wonderful place even better.

Other changes will be subtler, such as the new skills learnt by locals and visitors improving the sense of understanding and ownership of the forest. An example of this would be a local scout group being able to spot a rare wild service tree or tell you why veteran trees are important for wildlife. 

All the projects being taken forward are in the Landscape Strategy Report, which will be on the project website www.forestry.gov.uk/growwithwyre in the autumn.

13. How will you help people to discover the history of the area, when it’s so well hidden?
Projects to unravel the past will allow people to understand how their ancestors interacted with (and used) the rich natural and man-made resources found within the landscape and how this relationship continues today, thousands of years on. Like the restoration of the old water mill that we’re planning.

We’ll continue to identify the interesting landscape features and the stories that go with them to produce a living picture of the past. These stories will be brought to life through the use of traditional and innovative land management and farming practices, unveiling hidden archaeology and interpreting it in novel and exciting ways.

This work will have the added value of preserving these landscapes, features and ecosystems into the future, and at the same time re-telling the story to local people and visitors alike to build a sense of enormous pride in the local area. It is a unique opportunity for sustainable improvements.

14. What makes Wyre special?
There is so much that makes Wyre special! Much of the Wyre is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and many rare species of flora and fauna can be found there. The landscape consists of rolling hills, woodland, orchards and open water with picturesque valleys.  It is an area that is rich in geological interest. All the facinating facts are in the Landscape Character Assessment (Landuse Consultants 2006).

15. Any interesting facts?

  • Wyre Forest consists of 2,600 ha (6,500 acres) of Ancient Woodland, of which the Forestry Commission own and manage around 1,100 ha.
  • Nearly 1/5th of Wyre is designated National Nature Reserve - some 549 ha.
  • Wyre is one of the top ten sites in the Country for Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths).
  • The Wyre Forest's 2,600ha is all that survives of a wood that once stretched along the Severn Valley from Worcester to Bridgnorth.
  • There will be a celebratory Seed Gathering Festival at Wyre in October 2007, your chance to find out more and get involved. There will be lots to do, we need your help so please come and help gather seeds, you’ll get to take some home to grow yourself and learn lots about the woodland, forest and its fascinating history, come along!

16. Who do I contact?
Gail Atkinson is Project Manager for the ‘Grow With Wyre’ Scheme on 01584-813822 or 07780-738859 or e-mail Alison Coggon alison.coggon@forestry.gsi.gov.uk.

17. Do you have a website?
Yes, more information can be found at:  http://www.forestry.gov.uk/growwithwyre

Please may I have more background information about your funders?

18. Heritage Lottery Fund
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) enables communities to celebrate, look after and learn more about our diverse heritage. From our great museums and historic buildings to local parks and beauty spots or recording and celebrating traditions, customs and history, HLF awards grants to open up our nation’s heritage for everyone to enjoy. Since 1994 it has supported more than 26,000 projects, allocating over £4 billion across the UK.

19. SITA Trust
SITA Trust was set up in 1997 and runs three funding programmes, the Partnership is receiving money from the Enriching Nature Programme – for biodiversity projects within the vicinity of landfill sites in England. Each year, SITA Trust commits over £7 million nationwide through the Landfill Communities Fund, more information can be found on the SITA Trust website www.sitatrust.org.uk

The Landfill Communities Fund (formerly the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme)
When Landfill tax was introduced in 1996, it was to encourage more sustainable ways of managing waste. The landfill tax legislation also brought about the Landfill Communities Fund. This scheme allows landfill operators to voluntarily donate 6.6% of their landfill tax liability to environmental improvement projects. The Landfill Communities Fund is independently regulated on behalf of HM Government’s Revenue & Customs by ENTRUST

20. GrantScape
GrantScape has a ten-year environmental and community grant-making heritage. It is also a major funder of biodiversity projects across England and Wales, see www.grantscape.org.uk

Over the last three years, GrantScape has awarded £8 million through its Biodiversity Challenge Fund to twenty projects considered to deliver the most significant gains for the UK’s priority habitats and species. Grow with Wyre is one of the six recently-announced grant award winners under its 2007 Biodiversity Challenge Fund. 

The grant from GrantScape is also made available through the Landfill Communities Fund, using monies provided by Waste Recycling Group Ltd.

You’re up to date!  Thank you, we look forward to seeing you in the Wyre soon!

Drop us a line if you have any thoughts on the scheme and join us at the seed gathering festival in October. alison.coggon@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

Heritage Lottery Funded