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                               Friends of Hagg Wood

                                  Newsletter - Spring 2011

Spring now approaches after a busy Autumn and New Year, when we have had many enjoyable events. We have a full programme of events for you to enjoy too this Spring. (see Events), so do make the most of them and join us whenever you can. As you may well have noticed, the wood has undergone an extensive thinning process by the Forestry Commission in recent months. In total some 3200 tons of timber has been removed, much of it for bio-fuel, fences and pallets, including thinning many of the Scots and Corsican pine and removing the Western Hemlock that were threatening to soon seed and become too invasive. Under our guidance, the Forestry Commission has carefully preserved growing broadleaf trees, such as oak, in the wood, and given them more space and light to develop in unrestricted way with the removal of conifers that were growing close-by. We also hope that the opening up of the wood to more sunlight in many places will help encourage more birdlife within the wood.

We have worked closely with the Forestry Commission and its staff since the formation in 2003 of Hagg Wood as the first Community Woodland in North Yorkshire in a Forestry Commission woodland. This itself followed on from our long and sustained campaign to prevent the wood from being sold off when it was threatened in 1996, with the risk of public access being severely restricted. The current Community Woodland status under the Forestry Commission has meant that we have benefitted considerably from the expertise of FC staff, which have included not only its forestry rangers, but also their expert wildlife and environment officer, and their education and recreation officer who has helped to organise many valuable events with local school children. In addition, we have been consulted on important environmental issues related to the wood by the FC, but have been able to leave the professional forestry management activities and its costs to them, whilst ourselves concentrating on our conservation activities in the bluebell area and elsewhere where there is most scope for progress. The current arrangement has also helped to ensure public access within the wood, including over the many well-used tracks that are not full public footpaths.

Unfortunately, all of this is now under threat from the proposals recently announced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) for the disposal of the Forestry Commission’s forests and woodland. There are no guarantees in DEFRA’s consultation document on these proposals that local woods, such as Hagg Wood, will not be  sold off on the open market, if there are no fairy godmothers with the considerable resources needed to buy them and run them for the benefit of the local community. You can respond to DEFRA’s proposals in its consultation document (available from 0131-314-6575 or from Linda on 01904-489127) by post, or via its website ww2.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult. There are  online petitions on  www.woodlandtrust.org.uk and via  http://saveourwoods.co.uk, where you can also contact your MP. We will also be circulating our own local petition. If you value your local community woodland, now is the time to make your views count. For further advice and information call 01904-489127 or - 488674.


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