Partnership has been critical to our success so far and will form an important part of our future. Our key partners are:
Jim Wright-Smith is the Woodland Trust’s PAWS Project Restoration Officer for the Weald. He has helped many local woodland owners to network, get to know and support each other. He also produced several important reports on Vert Woods, helping us understand more about the environment here.
Students from Plumpton’s forestry department, training in tree cutting and chainsawing, have played an important role in helping us start to implement our management plan. They have thinned younger trees, cut more mature ones and opened up important spaces that now provide more light and consequently improve the vitality of the forest.
A number of experts from the Wildlife Trust have visited the woods and written short reports helping us better understand the wide and interesting biodiversity that we have. These included a full list of species – fauna and flora – and details of the unique wet woodlands found here.
In Victorian times Vert Woods was a popular place for butterfly enthusiasts, who would travel from London to trap and collect them. While many species have now died out, the Sussex branch of Butterfly Conservation is actively trying to support and reintroduce rare ones. Neil Hulme, from the butterfly reserve that borders Vert Woods, has also offered advice and support.
Our first official tenant in the woods, CLR is a long established Community Interest Company that offers a wide range of educational, training and experiential opportunities in nature. Its dynamic boss, Marina Robb, is also a member of our CBS management committee and has given her experience freely.
We have been involved in the foundation’s Lottery-funded project, Making Local Woodlands Work, since October 2015. During that time we have had lots of great advice, some excellent specialist consultancy and attended several workshops. Norman Danby and his team have also given us particular help in setting up our CBS.