The Forest of Marston Vale is one of only 12 Community Forests in England. All twelve were designated by Government back in the very early 1990’s, and all share a 40-year vision to use trees and woodlands to regenerate once degraded landscapes around towns and cities. Together, the Forest of Marston Vale and other Community Forests form the largest environmental regeneration initiative in England.
Whilst the headline target for all Community Forests is to achieve 30% tree cover across their areas, the real story is about what this transformation is designed to achieve – regeneration. Community Forests were designated in areas that had suffered significant degradation and damage at the hands of a variety of industries – brickmaking, coal mining, landfill, etc. By transforming these damaged landscapes through major environmental regeneration, the vision is to change perceptions of these areas and trigger their wider economic and social regeneration; creating new landscapes with new prospects.
The Community Forests can be found across England; from Red Rose and Mersey Forests in the north-west, to Thames Chase and Watling Chase in the south-east, Great Western and the Forest of Avon in the south-west, to Greenwood and the Forest of Mercia in the midlands.
Since 1990, England’s Community Forests have:
- Planted over 10,000 hectares of new woodland
- Brought more than 27,000 hectares of exiting woodland under management
- Created or improved 12,000 hectares of other habitats
- Planted or restored 1,200 kilometres of hedgerows
- Opened up 16,000 hectares of woods and green-space for recreation and leisure
- Restored or created more than 4,000 kilometres of footpaths and cycle routes
- Engaged and involved hundreds of thousands of people in finding out about and improving their local areas
- Secured investment of over £175 million to improve people’s quality of life
Collectively, this work has formed the largest environmental regeneration initiative in England. Major contributions have been made to Government agendas including quality of life, health, community cohesion and addressing climate change. Best practice has been developed and tested and national policy influenced. Community Forests have played a key role in developing and championing Green Infrastructure in England.
The Forest of Marston Vale and the other of England’s Community Forests are shining examples of how enhancing the environment can bring far reaching and diverse benefits to local communities, businesses, Government and wider society.
Find out more about England’s Community Forests.