York Council 19072023

Top award for York Community Woodland

York Community Woodland has won the prestigious John Boddy Award for Forestry, presented at this year’s Great Yorkshire Show.

The award celebrates excellence in forestry creation, design and management in Yorkshire, with this year’s award focusing on the best community woodland planted in Yorkshire over the last 15 years. The Award is organised and judged by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, Royal Forestry Society and Forestry Commission.

York Community Woodland is a project led by the City of York Council in partnership with Forestry England, with the goal of establishing an extensive community woodland on a 195-acre plot of land to the west of York.  In February, the project reached the key milestone of planting its 85,000th tree.

Owned by the council and developed and managed by Forestry England, the woodland will support York’s efforts to tackle the long-term impacts of climate change, increase biodiversity, and promote active travel, health and wellbeing. It will also contribute to York’s new goal of increasing the city’s tree canopy cover from 10.8% to 13% by 2050 – the equivalent of 21 hectares of new canopy cover each year.

Forestry England has developed the woodland with the help of 400 local volunteers and 30 stakeholder groups with specialist skills and interests. The project was developed following a community consultation process which included woodland walks, public talks from experts and a design competition for local schools.

Judges said: “The professional, comprehensive approach to the woodland design and process and its delivery was very impressive. There has been high levels of community and stakeholder engagement leading to a well thought out woodland design.”

Cllr Jenny Kent, City of York Council’s joint executive member for Environment and Climate Emergency, said:

“I’m thrilled to hear that York Community Woodland has won such a prestigious award in the face of stiff competition from our region’s many wonderful community forestry projects. It’s great to see the skill and effort of hundreds of local volunteers rewarded – this project represents what York’s communities can achieve when we work together towards a shared goal.

“As well as creating a beautiful green space for future generations to enjoy, the woodland is a vital part of our plan to become a carbon net-zero city by 2030, an ambitious goal which requires us to change land use to offset emissions across the city.

“I’d also like to pay tribute to the hard work of the previous City of York Council administration in developing this project, in particular the previous executive member, Cllr Paula Widdowson, whose efforts in championing this project have undoubtedly contributed greatly to its ongoing success.”

Nick Short, Woodland Creation Manager for Forestry England Yorkshire, said:

“We were delighted to be selected as the delivery partner for York Community Woodland, and we’re even more excited to hear the superb news about the award. The woodland is still in its development stages, so to be recognised in its infancy is a testament to this great green initiative with the City of York Council. We’re incredibly proud of the progress so far and we look forward to welcoming visitors in 2024.”

To keep in touch with Forestry England’s plans for creating the woodland, visit www.forestryengland.uk/york-community-woodland.

To find out more about carbon reduction and climate action in York, visit www.york.gov.uk/climatechange.

You can also sign up for the council’s monthly Climate Change newsletter at https://www.york.gov.uk/form/EmailUpdates.