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NEWS RELEASE No: 1474214 JULY 2011

Birds in for a tweet in Barnsley!

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Len Batty discusses plans for an eco-make-over with Robin Ridley from the South Yorkshire Forest Partnership

A 65 year old Barnsley man is eying a greener future by transforming a local woodland into an even better place for feathered friends.

Len Batty, who lives near Ingbirchworth, owns Cawthorne Park Wood, which has been awarded a £95,000 Forestry Commission grant to improve the habitat for woodland birds.

Draped across rolling hills, the 106-hectare (265-acre) beauty spot near High Hoyland nestles in some of Yorkshire’s most idyllic countryside, once fondly dubbed “Little Switzerland”.

Now birds such as lesser spotted woodpecker, hawfinch, willow tit, willow warbler, woodcock and garden warbler will be amongst wildlife boosted by a scheme to remove 20,000 tonnes of mainly conifer timber over the next five years. 

Taking their place will be more broadleaf trees, open spaces and glades, helping plants, animals and insects as well as birds. 

Rudie Humphrey, from the Forestry Commission, said:

“We are also really stoked by this scheme because much of the timber removed will be used as woodfuel – a leaner burning and far more eco-friendly energy source than fossil fuels.  South Yorkshire has 28,662 acres of woodland, but much of it is an untapped resource for both wildlife and timber.  We want see more woodland owners following Len Batty’s excellent example.”

Work could start at Cawthorne Park in August and felling will be done selectively and avoiding clear felling, important as the woodland can be seen for miles around.  Rides will also be widened.

The Forestry Commission and South Yorkshire Forest Partnership recently secured over £200,000 from the EU for a project called Activating Forest Owners aimed at getting more local woods producing wood fuel.

Len Batty, who bought Cawthorne Park in 1988, and is now semi-retired, added

“There’s loads to do at Cawthorne Park and by selling the timber for green energy the long term management costs can be offset. The results will be a much better place for wildlife, which is brilliant.” 


  1. Under the EU-funded programme free workshops are being organised to encourage South Yorkshire’s private woodland owners to actively manage their woods.  To find out more contact Robin Ridley on 0114 2571199, email

  2. Forestry Commission England is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands.

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