City of York Council has recently purchased land to create a new area of woodland within York’s boundary with the ambition of planting 50,000 trees by 2023. The project will be known initially as York Community Woodland until it is formally named.
Find out more:
- How the woodland will be delivered
- The benefits
- The plan
- Possible Features of the Woodland
- Get involved
- Next steps
150 acres / 61 hectares of land have been purchased in the west of York for the creation of York Community Woodland and an additional 30 acres of land next to the A1237 is being looked at for additional tree planting.
Together with adjoining land already owned by the council this has the potential to create around 194 acres / 78 hectares of new amenity woodland for York.
The land is west of the village of Knapton and is bounded to the east by the A1237 outer ring road, to the south by the B1224 Wetherby Road except for one field that lies south of the road, to the west by the Harewood Whin disused waste disposal site and to the north by the York to Rufforth bridleway and cycle path.
The land was purchased using part of a £3m Northern Forest budget, agreed at Budget Council in February 2020. In July the council joined the government’s Northern Forest initiative which aims to plant 50 million new trees across the north of England. The initiative is a partnership between the Woodland Trust and other organisations committed to tree-planting across the North of England including the White Rose Forest which covers the Leeds City Region and York.
How the woodland will be delivered
The council is a partner of the White Rose Forest and will be working with them to deliver the new woodland. They provide specialist advice and a link into the funding opportunities available.
Harnessing existing local knowledge and expertise is an important part of the project, in order to access a wide range of advice throughout the various stages of the woodland design process and will give many people the opportunity to help develop a lasting legacy for the next 150 years.
To deliver this the council will be working with residents and numerous stakeholder groups including Parish Councils, the Woodland Trust, the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Treemendous, University of York, St Nicks and the Wood Meadow Trust, amongst many others. This will include providing advice on which species of tree should be planted, how to maintain these trees in the future, how to design amenity woodland to get the most out of the space for residents and benefit the environment.
The benefits that the council is seeking to achieve through this exciting project are:
- Progress towards the target of becoming a net zero carbon city by 2030 by creating a ‘carbon sink’ absorbing some of the emissions produced by York as part of a broader programme of carbon reduction
- Long term sustainable improvements to the mental and physical health of residents for generations to come by providing good access to quality green space and reducing demands on health services
- Enhancing biodiversity and increasing the amount and quality of diverse habitats for our wildlife, whilst also improving the city’s air quality
- Provision of new accessible green space where residents and visitors can all enjoy leisure time or experience it as a green active travel corridor when using the foot and cycle path routes through and around the site
- Enhancing the desirability of York as place to live and work and therefore bringing economic benefit to the city
- Creation of new green jobs and volunteering opportunities
Currently we are in the early project planning phase where we need to get specialist advice, gather and understand local information and knowledge and hear views and ideas from as many people as possible so that we can formulate an effective plan to deliver the council’s draft vision for the project, which is set out below.
The new woodland will be a well-designed, bio-diverse, greenspace providing a place for peaceful contemplation and leisure for the people of York. This will create a new stray for the city, enhance the setting of the city and make York an even greater place to live, work and visit.
Possible Features of the Woodland
- New pedestrian and cycling connections
- Fitness trail
- Children’s outdoor play area
- Forest school space
- Woodland café
- Commercial uses to provide revenue income for upkeep
Key to the successful delivery of the York Community Woodland will be the involvement of the local community in as many ways as possible: shaping the vision; giving views and ideas about what is important for people in the design, layout and features of the woodland; helping plant the trees; getting involved in looking after the woodland and using it as it matures.
We are now planning a programme of community engagement and this will be announced shortly. So that you can be sure to be involved and kept up to date you can register your interest or contact the York Community Woodland project team using the details below.
During October and November the YCW project team has been working on planning community engagement and project delivery with the aim to start planting in October/November 2021.
A report setting out the project approach to community engagement, woodland design and delivery, funding and timescales will be considered by Cllr Paula Widdowson (Executive Member for Environment and Climate Change) at her public Executive Decision session on 16th December. The report will be published on 8th December and can be viewed at democracy.york.gov.uk.