Award success as volunteer supported project receives accolade!
Woodland Trust staff and volunteers are celebrating after one of our sites was selected as the winner of the National Forest Company’s ‘Forest for the people’ award. Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Wood (QEDJW) was given the award, which celebrates “woodlands exhibiting superb access and connectivity for people, including; accessible routes for wide range of users, clear and informative interpretation, collaborative working with the community/volunteers and the enhancement of any historic features on the site”.
QEDJW, which is in Leicestershire, was one of 60 new woods which was created to mark the Queen’s diamond jubilee. One of the project’s flagship woods, planting was started in the area by the National Forest Company, who gave the Trust a generous donation to help with the acquisition of the site. It is new woodland (2012) that sits on a reclaimed open cast coal mine and surrounding intensive agricultural land.
As well as planting a lot of work has gone in to ensuring that the site is welcoming and accessible for all. Right from the beginning members of the public were involved in the creation of the site and their ideas were incorporated into the design of the wood. The vast majority of the site is open access, with a couple of areas closed off to the public as wildlife havens. The site includes a network of clearly waymarked permissive paths, several surfaced tracks suitable for wheelchairs, radar key gates, a bridle way, a geocaching site trail, land art, photography plinths, a 10acre lake and bird hide, a pond dipping platform and rubbing trail. There are also a series of ‘jubilee groves’, one for every year the queen reigns, which provides an area for dedications.
Volunteers manage the welcome hub, ensuring that it is in good repair, replenishing the leaflet holders and maintaining the picnic tables and the small herb garden.
The site has a ‘Friends of’ group who undertake fund raising exercises on behalf of the trust and small maintenance works as well as reporting back any issues and running guided walks. Community groups use the site, the most recent being a RunYoga group that meets up every week. QEDJW continues to be a Visit England accredited site, with a GOOD status and has an access statement on the Woodland Trust website.
Site Manager David Logan said “Although I’m new to the role and had nothing to do with creating this site, it is a pleasure to manage and every time I’m on site, I always end up chatting to somebody.”
Well done to everyone involved with Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Wood!
Amanda Brookes – Volunteer Development Officer – Central Region
Photo credit: Image 1 (bench): Robert Read, images 2,3 and 4 Richard Faulks