Community woods are inspiring places alive with nature and loved by people, those who look after them and those who visit for pleasure.
More groups are taking control of their local woodland or acquiring land to create their own wood. 700 across the UK at the last estimate, and growing. Their motives vary. Some are moved to ‘save’ a wood that’s for sale in their neighbourhood. Maybe it’s under threat from unsympathetic development, or a popular recreation space that could be lost. Others are hunting for a wood to meet a specific need. Perhaps they want to run scout camps or forest schools; to create a wood fuel business or offer training in woodland skills.
The benefits are many and wonderful. Take over woodland in your area you can add to the quality green space close to your home and open up access for your community and future generations. You can give a boost to the local economy through harvesting firewood and timber or running courses and events. And by managing sustainably, you can enrich the environment too. Woods are proven to benefit air quality, mitigate flooding, shield noise, improve physical and mental health, and deliver a major boost to biodiversity. There are few habitats richer in wildlife.
Community woods bring people together. You’ll meet like-minded people, forge new networks, have fun, and perhaps get fitter to boot. There’s the satisfaction of doing your bit for nature and knowing that nobody can take your precious patch of wilderness away, because it belongs to the community. Who knows what else might grow?
There’s a lot to think about before you get going. Every group’s means and motives differ, and our advice aims to provide you with all the tools you need.
“When it comes to tending to a landscape, nothing beats the passion of local people.”
Al Crosby, Woodland Trust
Download our first advice sheet below for more information.