Wales is home to some magnificent areas of woodland, but also many small woodlands that are no longer actively managed. Most small woodland habitats benefit from some active management work, which helps support native wildlife.
Rural Wales has a lot of older housing stock and many homes are not connected to the gas main and so utilise oil or LPG for heating. These older houses have chimneys that have the potential to use wood fuel as they once did.
The Green Valleys developed a community led solution to restoring woodlands to active management through sustainable wood fuel production for local use. We have supported the development of local community woodland groups, helping a variety of landowners manage woodlands and generate valuable wood fuel for group members to use at home.
We developed a training program that supported communities in assessing woodlands for management that included:
- Identifying constraints
- Developing written management plans for agreement with the landowner.
- Enabling learning about woodland habitats and basic ecology, protected and important species and planning how to harvest timber sustainably.
- Offering training for a range of practical skills including safety issues, access, planning work programs, organizing a worksite, insurances, permissions, using tools safety and proper techniques for felling and pruning trees.
There now seven active community woodland groups in the Brecon Beacons, improving woodland habitats and generating wood fuel for local use.
We have also undertaken work to restore orchards across a number of sites. Orchard trees require careful pruning and management to extend their lifespans and ensure healthy crops. We provided practical help to landowners and have run several courses on correct pruning techniques. We have also supported the creation of new orchards with numerous community groups, resulting in more than 150 new trees of native Welsh varieties planted in community spaces.
This post is also available in: Cymraeg