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Forest of Marston Vale Group

Summary

  • Unique ID:  103000000000749 
  • Status:  Validated / Active                     
  • Project Owner:  Andrew Lingard          
  • Project Location:  All 10 projects are within Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire          
  • Previous Land Use:  Most woodlands were planted on former arable land
  • New woodland area:  98.24 ha Planted: Across the sites, principal species are Oak, Ash and Field Maple, with other mixed broadleaves, and a native shrub component of between 10-20%
  • 36.37 ha Open Ground:
  • Woodland Management:  Low impact systems with small group and individual tree felling to create a healthy woodland structure.  Small-scale coppicing will be carried out
  • Estimated Sequestration:  52,987 tCO2e over 100 years, of which 42,354  tCO2e is for sale and 10,633 tCO2e contributes to the WCC buffer           
  • Start Date:   Planting was carried out between 2001 and 2013

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About the site

There are ten sites in this group project, distributed across the Marston Vale. The Forest of Marston Vale covers 61 square miles between Bedford and the M1 motorway North of Milton Keynes and covers parts of Bedford Borough and central Bedfordshire. It contributes to the regeneration of this landscape damaged by brick making and landfill over many decades.

The landscape of Marston Vale is generally flat, open and a moderately intensive arable landscape with little tree cover. This woodland creation will thus significantly increase woodland locally. Some existing Ancient Semi-Natural woodlands exist in the area and these new woodlands will help to connect and buffer these.

Most of the new woodlands are close to expanding residential areas and will help to create new access and recreational opportunities. Public footpaths and Bridleways cross many of the sites and tracks and mown trails have been created as part of the project.

Marston Vale landscape

Landscape view of new planting at Shocott Spring.  
Photo:  Forest of Marston Vale Trust.

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Carbon Buyers - Why buy from this project?

The Forest of Marston Vale is a good example of partnership working and community involvement at its best. This large community forest has been created in an area with an industrial past that has left its legacy in the landscape.

Whilst trees are vital to the creation of the Forest, they aren’t the whole story. It’s about extracting all the benefits possible from the new ‘forest’ landscape being created – improved leisure opportunities, transformed perceptions, increased wildlife, engaged local communities and revitalized economies, plus a future timber supply. So much more than just the trees.

Forest of Marston Vale are looking to sell carbon from these woodlands as they grow and buyers will be allocated carbon units on Markit Registry.  By buying carbon from the Forest of Marston Vale, buyers will be supporting this regeneration of a blighted industrial area and helping to create income and investment to support further expansion of this community forest by the Marston Vale Trust, a registered charity.

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Landowners - Why get involved?   

Andrew Lingard, Project Manager, said:

“The Forest of Marston Vale Trust knows that many businesses, organisations and individuals want to reduce the negative impact they have on the environment caused by greenhouse gas emissions, and planting trees and woodlands is one of the very best ways to do this. The Woodland Carbon Code now delivers standards of best practice for UK woodland creation projects, and provides reassurance to potential carbon buyers who want to invest in accredited woodland projects that also benefit the landscape, wildlife, site visitors and local communities. The Trust’s WCC certified woodlands will be sustainably managed and can demonstrate reliable estimates of the amount of carbon that will be captured over time. For the Forest of Marston Vale Trust this could provide a very welcome source of additional revenue that did not exist previously, which can be used to continue our work to create the Forest. "

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Who is involved?

All of the projects in the group scheme have been created and are owned or managed by the Forest of Marston Vale Trust (FoMVT), the charity charged with creating the Forest of Marston Vale. The Forest as a whole is a broad partnership involving Government agencies (Forestry Commission, Natural England etc.) district and parish councils, voluntary organisations, local community groups and individuals.

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How did we go about it?

All of the woodlands involved in this group were planted as part of the creation of the Forest of Marston Vale, one of a national programme of twelve Community Forests established in England in the early 1990’s. This project has assisted in trebling woodland cover locally from 3% to around 10%.

The aims and objectives of the Forest is to establish a multi-purpose woodland green space, hosting primarily informal recreation for a growing local populace. It will also create new habitat for wildlife and enhance the local landscape. It will also provide a future small scale timber resource for firewood and other timber products.

Ultimately, this project will restore this once degraded, industrialised part of Bedfordshire to an increasingly well-wooded, attractive and a much richer environment for people and wildlife.

The individual planting projects in the scheme are project managed by the Trust. This includes site assessments, grant application, planning, obtaining quotations from contractors, and then overseeing the planting.
As part of the grant application process, all projects were grant aided by the Forestry Commission and published on the EWGS public register for 21 days to give interested parties the opportunity to comment on the proposals. 

Establishment requirements varied between sites, and included plant protection (fencing or the use of tree shelters), spot spraying to reduce weed competition, ground cultivation and sward establishment using a ‘pollen and nectar’ grass and wildflower mix to encourage greater biodiversity. Extensive community involvement in planting is a feature with all projects, through a series of events for the general public, schools, businesses, other local groups, families and individuals.  Where possible woodland design also involved consultation with local people. 

Forest of Marston Vale tree planting 

Community planting Forest of Marston Vale.
Photo:  Forest of Marston Vale Trust.

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What are the wider benefits?

In helping the regeneration of Marston Vale, the project will improve the local landscape, increase access to the countryside; and provide new opportunities for sport, recreation and environmental education. It will establish a supply of timber and other woodland products; contributing to the move to a low carbon economy.

The woodlands will increase biodiversity by providing new areas for wildlife and improving habitat networks across the area. It is also intended that the project will contribute towards creating jobs in the new woodland industries, both management of woodland and use of the raw materials, and also in the leisure industry developed in and around the Forest.

It is also intended to give public and private sector confidence in the long-term prospects for the area, providing a proper base for investment by creating an outstanding environment and setting as a comparative economic advantage over competitor areas.

Forest of Marston Vale new recreational facilities

Creation of new recreational facilities: Buttons Ramsay Wood entrance, Forest of Marston Vale.
Photo: Forest of Marston Vale Trust.

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Last updated: 20th June 2016