Funding win sees woodland plans take root

Plans to increase tree cover to capture carbon and enhance the environment in north Oxfordshire have received a boost with news of a £43,600 funding win.

Published: Tuesday, 28th November 2023

wheelbarrow and spades

Cherwell District Council has secured the money from the government’s Coronation Living Heritage Fund. It will create a “tiny forest” at Longford Park in Banbury and a community orchard at Burnehyll Community Woodland in Chesterton near Bicester.  

Councillor Andrew McHugh, Portfolio Holder for Cleaner and Greener Communities, said: “We are ambitious to increase tree cover and improve the quality of green spaces in Cherwell district. These successful funding bids demonstrate our commitment to making this a reality.

“We know that access to biodiverse green spaces is good for people’s mental and physical wellbeing, while healthy woodlands are also an element of our response to the climate emergency.

“We have chosen both these sites in a strategic way so that we maximise not only the environmental benefits but also the opportunities to engage with community groups and schools who we know are passionate about tree planting and biodiversity.

“Ongoing council support is built into both programmes to ensure that the two schemes benefit from help with contracts and specialist technical advice. I can’t wait to see these two woodland projects come to fruition in the coming years.”

At Burnehyll, the orchard will be part of an ongoing community woodland project led by Friends of Burnehyll Community Woodland. This well-established group has ongoing practical support from the council.

The Friends intend that the orchard will allow residents and visitors to connect with nature and harvest fruit as a social activity.

The site at Longford Park is former agricultural land. The plans will include shrub and canopy layers and link into existing hedgerows to support wildlife corridors. The council will work with an experienced contractor to plant the trees.

At both sites, the project plans and funding account for ongoing maintenance to ensure the new trees are well cared for and become successfully established.

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