Suffolk - CW: The Friends of Parklands Wood

Ufford, Woodbridge.

In December a group of volunteers met and have agreed to sign up as a formally recognised and constituted Community-owned WildSpace project; becoming Green Light's 61st project! The group will now have the help and support of Green Light Trust to assist during the setting up of the project. 

The people of Ufford recently stepped in to safeguard a treasured woodland for future generations. Ufford Parish Council recently took over ownership of nearly 20 acres of woodland from Suffolk Coastal District Council.

The land transfer is part of a wider policy by Suffolk Coastal of encouraging local communities to take responsibility for the facilities in their area.

In this case, the parcel of land is mainly made up of mature woodland, which is mainly used for informal recreation such as walking and dog walking, as well as two small surfaced car parking areas.

“This is a large stretch of unspoilt, traditional English woodland, with lots of footpaths and beautiful established trees,” explained Ufford Parish Council Chairman, John Skinner.

“Importantly, it also plays a role in connecting the various parts of Ufford. This is a very spread out village, with new housing at Parkland in the south, the recreation ground in the north and the Upper and Lower Ufford to the west and east. This woodland is bang in the middle, so is accessible by a lot of local people.” 

“It is a large stretch of established woodland that is a very good position, which is a valuable resource for our community. We want to see it remain this way, rather than seeing it developed.”

“There has been considerable development in this area, and applications for further development, so we have secured this woodland for the village, so it can’t be built on. We are safeguarding it for future generations.”

The nature of this traditional woodland means the area is covered by a Tree Preservation Order and the majority lies within a Special Landscape Area, which means no development can take place which would be to the material detriment of, or detract from, the special landscape quality. And the people of Ufford are planning to make sure it properly care fore, now it is in their hands.

“Looking after woodland like this is not something you rush into. Suffolk Coastal has been very helpful in giving us advice and we are working with the Green Light Trust, which is helping us getting started and to create a management plan to maintain and develop the woodland. They are also helping us apply for funding from the Forestry Commission to make improvements,” said Mr Skinner.

Visiting the woodland, Suffolk Coastal’s cabinet member with responsibility for Resources, Cllr Robert Whiting, said: “This woodland is an important community asset for local people. It is a beautiful area, used by people of all ages for walking and recreation. It is essential that areas like this are looked after properly by those best placed to care for them".

 “Suffolk Coastal District Council has a policy of encouraging the development of strong local communities by enabling them to take responsibility for the facilities in their area. Experience has shown that facilities which we devolve to local groups within the community tend to flourish.”

“This is a classic example of how that can work. Ufford Parish Council has shown its commitment to not only preserving the woodland, but is also drawing up admirable plans for its future.”

“The woodland plays an important role in linking this community together and it is the people of Ufford who will now be responsible for its care and future management.”


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