The award-winning Yorkshire-based Woodmeadow Trust, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, is launching a pioneering campaign to encourage communities to develop their own woodmeadows.
The Growing Community Connections Programme campaign, which has been officially launched this month with funding from The Linbury Trust, provides dedicated support, advice and training in the delivery of a community woodmeadow project.
Woodmeadows are vibrant greens spaces, rich with biodiversity; butterflies, bugs and birds and can be critical in reversing our dramatic decline in wildlife.
Woodmeadows can be created or restored from a variety of locations including from derelict land, ex-farmland, existing woodland, churchyards or parks and in a range of settings and sizes, including both urban and rural.
The Woodmeadow Trust itself has created the successful Three Hagges Woodmeadow just south of Escrick by the A19 between York and Selby, which is open for the public to enjoy all year round.
Kimberley Alden Parsons, who is running this campaign for the Woodmeadow Trust with her colleague Dan Carne, explained: “Our vision is of woodmeadows sustaining and connecting nature throughout our landscapes and communities. Since the Woodmeadow Trust began, we have inspired the creation of around 40 further woodmeadows across England, many of which have received support and advice from our Director and Ecologist Dan.
“Because of this sustained interest, we decided it would be an excellent idea to launch our Growing Community Connections programme, which encourages all communities that have suitable space available to set up their own sustainable habitat creation projects.
“Woodmeadows are a great opportunity for this, as they provide a varied mosaic of habitats supporting a diversity of wildlife, deliver ecosystems services which benefit local communities further and create a variety of engagement opportunities,” said Kimberley.
Applications for the programme are now being invited from organisations looking to establish a wildlife rich woodmeadow site with a community-focused ethos across Yorkshire and neighbouring counties.
Dan Carne explained: “The Woodmeadow Trust will be here to act as a sounding board and offer ecological, fund-raising and design advice, alongside support on any aspect of developing both your woodmeadow site and strengthening the community-facing aspects of projects for up to three years.”
Projects will also become part of the Woodmeadow Network. Created as a result of the Trust’s achievements and the growing number of British woodmeadows, the Woodmeadow Network is a community of new and existing woodmeadow sites across the UK, offering a forum to share experience, knowledge and skills in woodmeadow creation.
The network also provides a platform to showcase the variety of these diverse, dynamic and productive habitats.
Dan added: “Thanks to the generosity of The Linbury Trust, we are in a position to be able to offer support to others who want to follow in our footsteps.
“Anyone interested in creating their own woodmeadow can book one of our training courses or guided walks to find out more about what we ourselves have created. Please visit our website www.woodmeadowtrust.org.uk for further information.”
Applications for the Growing Community Connections Programme are now open and will close on Thursday May 11. Please visit www.woodmeadowtrust.org.uk for the application form. Applicants can either complete the online form or by sending a pdf version of the form, together with supporting documents, to email@example.com.