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Good Woods in Cumbria

posted on December 15, 2014

In its first year the Good Woods partnership supported 235 land owners and managers across the South-East and East of England with woodland management advice, and provided forestry education for 20 woodland community groups. In an exciting new development, Good Woods has been introduced to North-West England through a partnership with Cumbria Woodlands.

Cumbria Woodlands at the Westmorland Show

Cumbria Woodlands at the Westmorland Show. Photo Cumbria Woodlands

The Good Woods partnership will be working directly with owners of 80 Cumbrian woodlands most in need of support. Training will be provided in woodland management, and in innovative web-based mapping and management tools using the myForest service run by the Sylva Foundation.  As well as the direct support to owners the partnership will be delivering training to community woodland groups in Cumbria that play an important role in the ongoing stewardship of woodlands.

Cumbria is recognised as home to some of Britain’s most diverse and beautiful forests. Across the county, including the Lake District National Park, they cover over 10% (68,167ha) of the total area and provide multiple benefits; notably for tourism, wildlife, water quality and rural employment. Yet many of these forests are under-managed and now failing to deliver benefits to society and the environment, and potentially are unsuited to the future needs of society. They are also vulnerable to changing climate, pests and pathogens.

A sector-sponsored report published earlier this year[1] identified that an additional 50,000 cubic metres could be harvested from Cumbria’s forests, supporting more jobs and adding £9.5M of gross value. Some 165,000 tonnes of CO2 are absorbed in the county’s trees each year, contributing significantly to targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Good Woods is the first activity in a series of interlinked actions aiming to rekindle the health and prosperity of Cumbria’s forests, thanks to an innovative partnership between government, business and the charitable sector (download brochure).

Neville Elstone of Cumbria Woodlands said:

“Funding and innovative thinking from the Good Woods partnership has enabled Cumbria Woodlands to grow and develop the range of ways we can support woodland owners to give their woodlands a more healthy, productive future.”

Alistair Yeomans of the Sylva Foundation said:

“It is an important development to be working with Cumbria Woodlands under the Good Woods partnership as their staff have a great deal of forestry expertise and local knowledge. By working together I am sure that we will help progress sustainable forest management in Cumbria.”

A typical and beautiful Cumbrian woodland.

A typical and beautiful Cumbrian woodland. Photo Cumbria Woodlands

This ambitious new programme of work under Good Woods will lead to more local jobs and home-grown timber. Hand-in-hand it will also improve habitats for nature and deliver ecosystem services such as clean air and water, carbon sequestration, and alleviation of flooding. It is being delivered by three organisations: regional charity Cumbria Woodlands, and two national charities – BioRegional and the Sylva Foundation. Funding for the Good Woods partnership in Cumbria is being provided by DIY retailer B&Q, government agency Defra, and the D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust.


Rachel Bradley of B&Q said:

“It is fantastic to see that B&Q’s investment in Good Woods is continuing to provide a positive impact within individual woodlands, which is where support is actually needed, to ensure that all of society benefit from the full range ecosystem services that trees and woodlands provide”.

Hayley Baines-Buffery of Bioregional said:

“We are very pleased to have expanded the Good Woods partnership’s scope and we are looking for other businesses, charities and Government agencies to work with us to increase the reach of the Good Woods approach.”

More about Good Woods

In January 2013 a partnership was formed between leading home improvement retailer B&Q; sustainability charity, BioRegional; and the tree and forestry charity, the Sylva Foundation. This partnership was named Good Woods with the specific aim of improving the stewardship of woodlands in the UK.

Woodland ecosystems are complex and unfortunately many have been neglected over recent decades. Understanding how best to look after these valuable habitats is greatly assisted by the help of a professional forester. However to help communicate what woodland management actually means in practise, Good Woods created the Woodland Star Rating which aims to help non-foresters understand, adopt and communicate good woodland stewardship activities.

Read more at the Good Woods webpages

[1] Roots to prosperity: an action plan for the growth and development of the forestry sector in Cumbria. (2014)

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