All about Spud Wood…
Spud Wood in Oughtrington, Lymm, is a 17.22 hectare woodland which was planted in 1998/99 as part of the Woodland Trust’s “Woods On Your Doorstep” millennium project.
Its name was suggested by local school children through a competition, and is a reminder of its historic use of growing potatoes for Golden Wonder crisps.
The fertile soil has allowed the native species planted – ash, oak, birch, cherry, hawthorn and hazel – to flourish, and there is also grassland and wildflower meadows on site to promote biodiversity.
Spud Wood is linked to the wider countryside by a network of paths, including the Bridgewater Canal towpath which runs along its northern boundary. Its development fully involved the local community.
Located between the M6 and M56 Spud Wood is a very important local resource for informal recreation, offering a taste of wild nature for Lymm.
Spud Wood’s value to its local community has given rise to a successful management arrangement: A group of local residents, with support and encouragement from the Wood-land Trust, have set up “Friends of Spud Wood”, as a Community Interest Company, to undertake some of the woodland management responsibilities at the site, and involve the wider public in outdoor activities and training.
Friends of Spud Wood
The Friends of Spud Wood (FoSW) was established as a CIC (Community Interest Company) in 2014 with the main objective of “undertaking woodland management work and other relevant activities which enhance and improve the woodland and orchards in Lymm and its surroundings.”
We work closely with the Woodland Trust and our activities have facilitated a consistent approach to essential woodland management tasks which have cleared overcrowded trees to promote healthy growth; created clearings to encourage biodiversity; established and further developed a footpath network along known desire lines; and developed new habitats.
As well as these obvious benefits to Spud Wood and the local environment, FoSW also works with the community to encourage and foster engagement and care of this treasured open space.
We are proud to say that we won the Woodland Trust’s Willow Award for collaborative effort in 2016.
The activities of the Friends of Spud Wood have brought significant benefits to the woodland in a variety of ways:
- Thinning the trees and opening up the forest floor.
- Planting bulbs and wildflowers to enrich biodiversity.
- Working with schools and youth groups to encourage involvement and enjoyment in the open space.
- Running events with woodland related themes – such as coppicing, willow weaving and making woodland sculptures – to engage people in the countryside around them.
- Providing a presence which generates a welcoming and safe atmosphere.
Spud Wood is a thriving place for both wildlife and the local community, and the activities of the Friends Group are essential to develop and sustain this natural haven.