We see the community as a vital role in managing and sustaining the future of woodlands across the United Kingdom. As our sites develop and new woodlands are taken on, particularly those close to urban areas, we feel that it is important to engage with the local community every step of the way. We consult using a variety of methods, enabling us to provide the best possible resources for local people in their local woodlands. Key to future development of sites we feel it is important to offer a provision of education, health based activities, practical conservation and partnership working.
The Forestry Commission understands that local people know and understand their local woodlands, with the issues they face, better than anyone else. In order to manage woodlands effectively we regularly seek public opinions, thoughts and ideas for the future development of the sites.
Planning for Real
Planning for Real uses simple maps and models as a focus for people to put forward and prioritise ideas on how their local woodland can be developed and improved. It is a highly visible, hands-on community development and empowerment tool, which people of all abilities and backgrounds find easy and enjoyable to engage in.
Open Days, held in community centres and other focal points of urban conurbation, allow people to come and have their say about opinions and ideas they may have about their woodlands. The Forestry Commission understands it is important to go out to the community rather than expecting the community to come to us.
Community woodlands by their nature are intended to be as accessible as possible for local people. The Forestry Commission is keen to develop a sense of pride and ownership for our woodlands. One method of developing this is through the delivery of a diverse range of community events targeted at a range of users and potential visitors. These events are a great way to get outdoors and meet new people as well as improve your health and learn about your local area.
Throughout the year, the Forestry Commission organises a diverse range of events at various sites in the East Midlands. There is something for everyone, from wildlife walks and children’s adventure days to Tai Chi and Nightwatches! For more details on Forestry Commission events click here.
Health and Wellbeing
Through the development of Community woodlands there are increasing numbers of green spaces being created on the doorstep to local communities. These woods are great places for both formal and informal exercise aiding both physical and mental wellbeing. Research has shown time and time again that woodlands and local green spaces can help reduce stress levels and boost morale.
They are great places to relax and raise the spirits, offering new sights, sounds, smells and experiences all year round. The woodland environment is a cost-effective way of improving your general wellbeing! For more information see the Health and Wellbeing homepage.
Friends of Groups
Local residents meet regularly to discuss the progress and future developments of their local woodlands. In adopting an area they are helping to sustain the future of their local area with added benefits such as applying for funding to provide extra facilities and services. Quite often, such members develop into our eyes and ears for the woodland. For more information see the Friends of Groups page.
We have lots of volunteers, who help us to manage local sites in a variety of ways. For more information, take a look at our volunteering page.