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                               Friends of Hagg Wood

                                  Newsletter - April 2011

Dear Friend,


We have had a beautiful display in Hagg Wood again this year of bluebells, primroses, wood anemones and wood sorrel, aided by our monthly conservation working parties aimed at keeping control of invasive brambles. We also hope that the extensive thinning of the wood that has been carried out by the Forestry Commission in recent months will help with the further spread of bluebells and other native flora. Under our guidance, the Forestry Commission has helped to ensure that the contractor removed many conifers that were growing close to maturing native broadleaf trees, such as oak and beech, giving them the chance to flourish further in the future. The extensive thinning of conifers has also opened up many new spaces in the wood where regeneration and some replanting of native broadleafs will progressively help to restore the wood to its historical role as a native woodland. The bluebells and wood sorrel are themselves indicators that Hagg Wood is an Ancient Woodland site, as our own historical researches that are detailed in our booklet Hagg Wood - Past, Present and Future confirm.


As a Plantation on an Ancient Woodland Site (PAWS), and as a Community Woodland, Hagg Wood should be off the list of potential woodland sales which the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) still is pursuing for 15 per cent of the Forestry Commission sites. We were therefore dismayed to see Hagg Wood listed as simply a “small commercial” woodland on the DEFRA website last year. The Chair of the Forestry Commission has, however, now confirmed to us that this designation  is  no longer appropriate for Hagg Wood. However, there are still many external threats to the continuing success of Hagg Wood as a Community Woodland. The future of the remaining 85 per cent of Forestry Commission forests and woodlands is still in the melting pot until the report in the Autumn of 2011 of the Independent Panel that has been appointed by Caroline Spelman MP, Secretary of State for the Environment, after the Government dropped its immediate disposal plans. In addition, current proposals for the redundancy of over 400 Forestry Commission staff in England mean that much of the support from Forestry Commission local Forest Rangers, education and recreation officers, and environmental and wildlife experts that we have in the past benefitted substantially from is now under threat.  As the Forestry Commission’s work at Dalby Forest also illustrates, there can be great public benefit from successful multi-purpose forestry, and we will be making our submission to the Independent Panel accordingly  


Our full programme of events for you to enjoy this Spring continue with our Walk in the Bluebell Wood and lunch at the Windmill on Saturday 7th May, and  cycle ride to Rawcliffe Meadows on Sunday 5th June, as well as conservation working parties on the mornings of Saturday 21st May, 4th June and 2nd July,  In addition, we will have a presentation on Fulford Community Orchard from Colin Campbell immediately after our AGM on Wednesday 25th May at 8pm in Dunnington Reading Room.  If you would like to stand for the committee, or nominate another member for the committee, please send your nominations to me at davidmays@onetel.com  by 11th May 2011. If you wish to propose an amendment to the Constitution, please refer to paragraph 9 of our Constitution,


There are therefore again plenty of reasons for you to renew your annual subscription if you do not pay by Standing Order (see membership form). We have once again kept our subscription fees unchanged at one of the lowest for many local organizations, and paying now will give you membership until 31st May 2012.


Yours sincerely


Dr David Mayston


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