Last Wednesday, the West of England Nature Partnership (WENP) unveiled a series of maps that show the most important environmental areas in the West of England.
The maps illustrate how green space is vital for better water quality, local flood protection and pollination, and the maps are designed to inform local decision making and help ensure that the West of England remains green and nature-rich place to live and visit.
The maps, known as ‘ecosystem service maps’ are the first time that nature’s services have been mapped and analysed in the West of England. Ecosystem services are the benefits that people get from nature, such as composting, air and water cleaning services, as well as for recreation opportunities.
The maps were created using over 200 datasets and show where the nature is working to support our economy and society.
If you click here, you can see the WENP website, but if you click here, you get to maps of the woodland network showing the best areas of woodland in the Forest of Avon Trust area, as well as the land which connects them, allowing wildlife to move.
Community Trees & Woodlands Officer
If you are passionate about working with groups to plant, maintain and care for trees/ woodlands and are also committed to growing your role as part of a local charity, we have just the job for you.
Click here save file to your computer: Community Trees & Woodland Officer
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: Jon Clark (0117) 963 3383 to discuss.
More evidence about the (really) positive role of trees. Government agency Natural England has published a report about the benefits of investing in the natural environment (MEBEI2). The report sets out evidence from a number of studies into the effects of natural infrastructure on health, wellbeing, work, productivity and climate change.
The importance of trees and woodlands, particularly in urban areas, was highlighted throughout the report. Some key points are:
- “Trees and plants can reduce the need for heating and cooling of buildings, and therefore lower energy costs.
- “Urban centres in particular may in future suffer from dangerous heat and air pollution. Some of the impact may be reduced by investment in the natural environment (particularly trees).
- “By increasing infiltration rates in forest soils, trees can have significant impacts on flooding, modelling since the O’Connell review in Pontebren in Wales suggests that in this context, a shelterbelt at right angles to the slope could reduce field scale flood peaks by 40%.
- “Urban forests intercept rain water and reduce peak run off… Test plots in Manchester demonstrated that over a year, the addition of a street tree could reduce stormwater runoff by between 50% and 62% in a 9 square metre area, compared with asphalt alone.
- “Trees can contribute to greater hydraulic roughness of floodplains, slowing water flow. Modelling around the River Parrett… found that floodplain woodland could slow water velocity within the woodland, increasing the water level by up to 270mm and increasing flood storage by 71%.
- “Green infrastructure makes a number of important contributions to local climate regulation… A single large tree can transpire 450 litres of water in a day which uses 1000 mega joules of heat energy, making urban trees an effective way to reduce urban temperature.
- “Modelling of the impact of trees on a two-storey office building in Scotland found that using trees as a shelterbelt could potentially reduce office heating energy use by 3.64 kilowatts per square metre of floor area (18.1 percent of total heating energy use)… from October to April.
- “Surveys across 26 different-sized cities in the USA found that shoppers reported being willing to travel further to visit, stay longer once there, and more frequently visit, business districts with trees.”
Read the full report on the Natural England website. Also, don’t forget what you can do locally by supporting the Forest of Avon Trust to get more trees planted and more woodland managed. Details of the great role that North Somerset’s trees are playing in locking up pollution to be blogged soon.
Through 2013 the Trust worked with a group of committed volunteer Tree Wardens in North Somerset to survey nearly 200 sites across the District to collect information on any trees present. This information, along with climatic data for the survey period, has now been processed using the US Forestry Service’s iTree model.
The results graphically set out the invaluable pollution management services that North Somerset’s trees provide. They also demonstrate the huge contribution that volunteers can make and this project is the first to use volunteers to collect information in the UK.
In North Somerset, tree cover removes harmful pollutants (CO, NO2, O3, PM10, PM2.5, SO2), with an annual average value of £1,703,648.30. This is another compelling reason why we need to look after our existing trees and plant more of them.
The iTree model can be applied at a variety of scales ranging from a local authority to a Parish or Ward, or a local park/ green space. The Trust can provide a free introductory meeting, or a detailed briefing for £125. Details of these and other services are here: iTree Flyer Text_1.
The Retreat Tree Dedication Site
We have just extended our popular Tree Dedication scheme to include The Retreat community woodland between Bitton and Wick.
For £10, the Trust provides a unique and personalised Certificate of Tree Dedication to a loved one and also contributes to looking after one of four accessible woodlands close to Bristol. It’s a great gift and one which helps look after the local environment.
To receive the certificate yourself/ send it direct, please complete the Tree Dedication Form and email it to: email@example.com paying via our Virgin Money Giving account , or post to the address details on the form with a cheque payable to: Forest of Avon Trust.
Street and garden trees integrate with existing woodland, grading to the Cotswold edge. Access links, play areas and open conservation sites extend through this. Farms and woodlands provide food and services for the urban market, with the ‘urban forest’ having the structure to accommodate any permitted development.
I worked for the first Community Forest: the Great North Forest from its beginning in 1990 and have worked in Community Forestry since. I remain strongly of the view that a shared, progressive and long- term strategy for the countryside around England’s largest urban areas is essential. This need not be prescriptive, but should be about a common will to spend time on improving the landscape and functionality of an area, in partnership with landowners, communities and many others.
The Forest of Avon Partnership ended in 2009 having achieved a great deal. Whilst 17 years is long-term in British planning terms, this charity was established to keep the momentum going. It is really heartening to hear Bristol Mayor: George Ferguson, refer to the need for more tree planting (one of our objectives) and cross boundary working.
If you want to help keep the Forest of Avon Community Forest vision and delivery going, email me here with your ideas and/or join us as a Friend (£3/ month).
The Trust celebrated its third ‘birthday’ in December by taking on the lease of The Retreat and by filming three videos at the site, illustrating our work. Trust patron and One Show regular Mike Dilger took time out of his busy schedule to help us with this, working with local media production company Constellation Media.
We were supported in the films by Forest School trainees; children and staff from Bradley Stoke Community School; and representatives from some of the organisations, businesses and Councils we have worked with.
Jon Clark, Trust Executive Director, said:
‘It was a cold and windy day, so huge thanks to everyone who took part. It was really heartening to hear everyone’s commitment to the cause. I am really pleased with three short films, which I hope speak for themselves.’
A mention has also got to go to Manor Farm Shop for an excellent warming lunch.
The videos are below: (also available on our YouTube Channel)
Tree Charity: the Forest of Avon Trust
Tree Action in and Around Bristol
Forest School Leader Training
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Tagged Forest School, Get involved, Outdoor Learning & Play, Schools Project, Tree planting
The Retreat woodland, looking north
The Forest of Avon Trust is now the proud lessee of The Retreat community woodland at Beach, near Upton Cheyney. This 5.18 hectare native woodland was planted in 2000 and provides attractive woodlands walks, with great views extending over Bristol to the Severn Estuary.
Jon Clark, Forest of Avon Trust Executive Director said: ‘Taking on the lease of The Retreat is a ‘real coming of age’ for the Trust, three years in to its life. We now have a great location for woodland walks, a fantastic site for Forest School training and new location for Tree Dedications. I would really like to thank Veale, Wasbrough, Vizards for their pro bono conveyencing support which helped make this possible.’
The Retreat is on Marshfield Lane, Beach and is clearly marked on Explorer Map 155 a mile east of Upton Cheyney, grid reference ST 710707. Telephone Jon on (0117) 963 3383 for more detailed directions.
The Retreat was formerly managed by the Woodland Trust and planted under their ‘Woods on Your Doorstep’ Lottery funded programme.
The Forest of Avon Trust has worked with local farmer Mr Clapp to help him secure grants from the Forestry Commission for improving his community woodland: Meadow Wood. Grants have helped pay for a new sign welcoming people in to the woodland and waymarkers and posts. A grant will also contribute towards annual management costs for five years.
Meadow Wood is a fantastic developing woodland in the Avon Valley, adjacent to the Monarch’s Way between Keynsham and Bitton. Walkers are welcome. General location here.
The Forest of Avon Trust is advising a number of woodland owners about the grants which are available for woodland management and public access, (as well as new planting). If you have a woodland, please contact Jon Clark on (0117) 963 3383 to discuss further and arrange a free site visit.
Trust Directors at their recent AGM resolved that the Trust should pursue being gifted appropriate areas of woodland, where these were deemed to be surplus to the public forest estate. The Trust would also continue to seek to influence the considerations of the expert panel on the future forestry policy, including through the national programme of Community Forests.
The Forest of Avon Trust is also actively working with woodland owners across Bristol & the West to provide advice on grants to help them to continue to provide/ enhance public access and improve the biodiversity of their woodlands. To date, this has been funded by the Forestry Commission and is practically addressing both the needs of owners and the desire for people to continue to visit and enjoy local woodlands.
To help us continue this work, please join us as a Friend.