Forest of Marston Vale

Case Study Information
Regenerating communities through woodland creation
Progress so far: 

At the start of the project, woodland cover in the area was three per cent. It has now increased to ten per cent. Volunteers have been fully incorporated to work alongside the permanent staff and have contributed more than 8,000 hours a year.

The project is creating a forest in the traditional sense, which means a patchwork of woodlands, green space, farmlands, villages and industry. The Millennium Country Park covers 225 hectares and is a mix of woodland, grassland, meadow, lakes and wetland habitats. There are 17 kilometres of traffic-free footpaths and bridleways.

Challenges and lessons learned: 

One of the challenges of the project is about managing uncertainty. Climate change will have unknown impacts on the forest, as will pests and diseases. It is not clear yet which species of tree will be most appropriate to plant in order to ensure a healthy forest in the future.

It would have been helpful to have more detailed staffing plans at the start of the project, as it would have made it easier to identify ways of funding staff.

Working together has helped to demonstrate to potential partners how committed the team is to creating a shared vision, and being passionate and committed to the vision has helped to drive it forward.

Further information
Location map: