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              Newsletter - Spring 2013

We have recently celebrated the New Year with a very enjoyable Sunday morning walk round the wood in bright sunshine followed by our excellent New Year lunch at Dunnington Sports Centre. With snow on the ground the day after, the weather will no doubt continue to surprise us. While the wood has started the year still boggy in places after the heavy rains of previous months, the Forestry Commission has at last made progress in carrying out substantial work to improve the drainage within the wood, though drying out will still take some time. Signs of Spring are nevertheless on the way, with bluebells already beginning to push through the soil. As a result of our recent conservation work, including clearing brambles in the bluebell area assisted by volunteers from TCV and the Green Gym, we look forward to a magnificent display in the wood later this year, both of bluebells and of many other woodland flowers.
The wonderful variety of woodland birds we can see in the wood and nearby is the subject of the first of our indoor events this Spring on Wednesday 27th February, presented by local ornithologist Barry Bishop. It is followed on Tuesday 26th March by the annual photographic extravaganza of local naturalist Terry Weston, which this time encompasses not just Dunnington throughout the year but also the Danube Delta in Spring and the Kalahari and Botswana in the Autumn, and all for a tour joining fee well below that of Ryanair’s. On Wednesday 29th May, we have following our AGM an illustrated presentation by Nigel Rylance of the Forestry Commission on the planned transformation of Broxa Forest near Scarborough from its existing domination by conifers to restore many of its ancient woodland features and extensive broadleaf cover. As well as our monthly conservation working parties, we also have two outdoor visits, one a cycle ride on Saturday 11th May to learn about the history and natural history of York Cemetery, and the other by car to the Himalayan Garden and Sculpture Park at Grewelthorpe, near Ripon, on Saturday 1st June. The details of all our events are given here, so do join us when you can.
On the long-running issue of the Government’s plans for the future of forestry in England, we have received letters of support from Julian Sturdy, MP for York Outer and from Hugh Bayley, MP for York Central for the Independent Panel on Forestry’s recommendations (see more here) for the continued public ownership of public forests. We have also received a letter from David Heath MP, Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, stating that “The Government has welcomed the Independent Panel’s report and confirmed that the Public Forest Estate will continue to benefit from public ownership...We agree that a well managed publicly-owned estate provides the sort of public benefits, such as biodiversity and access, that we need to protect”. A more detailed Government response is promised by the end of January, so we look forward with great interest to what it contains, and hope that there will be no ‘devil in the detail’ that will undermine our long-standing positive relationship with the Forestry Commission in preserving public access to, and improving the natural environment for all to enjoy of, our own Community Woodland for which we have worked hard for many years.

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