Coatham Wood is a new peri-urban woodland established on former arable land (200 hectares) adjacent to an established village community. The stake-holders were concerned about local attitudes to such a major change to the landscape and keen to involve local people in terms of consultation on woodland design and to encourage use of the site and conservation activities.
Fig. 5. Local residents are already making use of this major new woodland
Objectives. Establish a community forum and secure broad support for the proposal to create a new community woodland. Design the new woodland to meet local community aspirations and address concerns at the outset of the project. Maximise habitat creation potential of the site whilst meeting other local demands.
Key stakeholders. Forest Enterprise, The Tees Forest, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, Long Newton Parish Council, Primary School, Butter – wick Hospice, Admiralty Site Ecology Group.
Resources. Staff and financial resources from The Tees Forest and Forest Enterprise.
Actions undertaken. Consultation meetings, production of community newsletters, tree planting events, nature walks guider by a Forest Ranger, wildflower planting, community orchard proposed.
Number of people involved. 500.
Outcomes. Community Forum successfully established and no significant opposition for the proposals, trees and woodland wildflowers planted by local residents, involved local school children, engaged state forest service in creating and managing the site.
Evaluation. A successful approach endorses the belief by stakeholders that involvement of local residents is essential before site works commence. Fringe benefits include ‘active citizens’ supporting the new woodland within the local community.