31/01/2013 - Permalink

New community woodland for Oswestry

Related topics: Community

Shropshire Council is working closely with residents of Oswestry and Martin Bennett, a local Shropshire Councillor for Oswestry East, on a new community woodland for the town, known as Henley Wood and Meadow.

Planted in the 1990s, the woodland has been neglected for many years.  However, people regularly walk through it, prompting Martin Bennett to suggest it should be positively managed for local people.  Local residents have already responded, coming together with Shropshire Council staff to undertake a huge clean up last year which instantly improved the image of the woodland.

Martin Bennett, also Mayor of Oswestry, said:

“I am very excited by this project, as I have been promoting the need to do something about the woodland for at least four years.  The development and management of the area should be a shared responsibility between the community and the council, each bringing their interest and expertise to make sure that we get the most out of our available resources.  I do hope that during 2013 we will be able to roll out this approach with other parts of the land, for example at Broadlands Way and Cabin Lane.  I look forward to working with residents and officers to make this part of Oswestry the best it can be.”

Shaun Burkey, Shropshire Council’s outdoor recreation greenspace officer, who manages the site, commented:

“This is a great community project on people’s doorsteps.  We have a new woodland and improving wildflower meadow, plus a load of other land we are actively encouraging local residents to come and get involved with, and have a say in how they’re managed in the future.”

Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council ‘s Cabinet member responsible for active and healthy lifestyles, said:

“Looking after the natural beauty surrounding our towns is something we should all play our part in.  I’m thrilled at the community’s response to this project, and it demonstrates just what can be achieved when communities come together for each other and plan for our own future.”

Just before Christmas 2012 members of the newly-formed ‘Friends of Henley Woods’ lent a hand with the planting of 13,000 spring flowering native bulbs, including British bluebells, wild garlic, British snowdrops, celandine and native daffodils.  Work has now commenced in selective tree felling in the wood in order to open up the canopy, which in turn will attract other species of insect and birdlife.  Work has also begun clearing the route for a new stone footpath to run through the woodland.  Funded by the Sustainable Transport Fund, the footpath should be established by the spring.

In order to ensure continued community ownership of this project, Shropshire Council have organised an evening meeting at the Eastern Oswestry Community Centre, meeting room 1, on Tuesday 19 February 2013 at 7pm.  The meeting will give a summary of what’s been achieved to date and highlight what’s potentially on the horizon.  Residents will also have the opportunity to discuss ideas on the interpretation and management of the woodland, training and events opportunities.