‘Work without a vision is just drudgery, a vision without the work is just a dream, a vision and the work to go with it is what changes the world’ (Unknown)
We’ve developed a future blueprint with the help of experts from organisations like The Woodland Trust, Butterfly Conservation Group and The Sussex Wildlife trust, as well as many other local groups and individuals.
This kicked off with a visioning day in 2015, where more than 40 people from a wide range of backgrounds came together to help decide how we want the future to look.
We now have a woodland management plan that maps, designs and helps create our vision for how the wood could look for generations to come. This was formally agreed in February 2017.
Vert Woods is part of a bigger 250-hectare site that was once an ancient woodland. In recent generations much of this was felled and replaced with softwoods (like pine) for commercial gain. We plan to:
- thin out the poor quality and mature pine, selling it for wood chip or biomass
- encourage natural regeneration (with some planting) of healthy, native hardwood trees
- enhance natural features like the wet areas, ponds, heathland and open areas
- bring small areas of chestnut back into active management
- respect natural archeological features, like streams, banks and ditches.
You can download the woodland management plan here.
Pine clearance has already started. This allows the light in, creates better habitats for birds and butterflies, improves safety and encourages the vitality of the remaining trees. It has also brought in some much-needed income.
Our team has also used a portable sawmill to make benches, picnic tables, candle holders and coat hooks.
We’re evolving our business plan by testing out ideas, using pilot projects and feedback. In early 2017 we launched our Vert Woods Firewood Business Pilot.
Eventually we aim to create a viable social enterprise with jobs in areas like woodworking, health/wellbeing and nature-based experiences.