Makeover for Suffolk good woods

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A new project aiming to make woodlands more financially sustainable and good for wildlife means that some of the 42,000 hectares of unmanaged forests in Suffolk and Norfolk could be in for a makeover.

The Good Woods project, supported by DIY giant B&Q, charities BioRegional and the Sylva Foundation and the county councils in Suffolk and Norfolk, is offering 40 woodland owners across the two counties a day’s free advice and support from a professional woodland advisor. The day will help them start to bring their woods back into active management and improve their woodland’s wildlife and economic potential.

Whilst there are some 84,000 hectares of woodland throughout Suffolk and Norfolk, it is estimated that half are either unmanaged or undermanaged. This means that woodland wildlife is being lost, woodland skills are dying out and, therefore, wood products from these areas are not making it to market.

Also backed by the Forestry Commission, the project is seeking to revive those woodlands to benefit the environment, local people and the local economy.

Aldeburgh Golf Club has some 16 hectares of woodland and is one business that is already benefiting from support from the Good Woods project.

Mark Broughton, course manager for the club, said:“We’re working towards sustainable management of our woodland, which is good for the landscape, good for wildlife and which also produces some usable timber and firewood. An advisor came out and gave us some really useful management advice for our woodlands. He listened to what we wanted and had the experience to be able to suggest some very practical ways forward.”

Councillor Richard Smith, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning, said:

“Our local woods are a fantastic multi-purpose resource, much loved by many people in Suffolk. By giving advice to woodland owners on how they might improve the management of their woods, we will help to conserve and enhance woodland wildlife and provide support to the local wood fuel markets.”

Matt Sexton, B&Q’s director of corporate social responsibility, said:

“We believe that we can help make a real difference to the UK’s woodland. We are committed to improving local woodlands and to creating sustainable local woodland jobs, skills and products.”

Alistair Yeomans, the Sylva Foundation’s Good Woods coordinator, said:

“Good Woods provides professional forestry advice to woodland owners and thereby helps focus resources where they are needed. We believe that this is the vital first step to realising the potential of woodland resources.”

Anyone seeking an advisory visit should contact Nicky Rowbottom on 01502 578470 or 07715 047391 or email nicky.rowbottom@btinternet.com