4 August 2022 – Creating the first ‘flagship’ forest with Co-forest in Almondsbury, Bristol.
Co-forest is a local organisation set up to create brand new forests near towns and cities.
The first site acquired by Co-forest near Almondsbury, Bristol offers the opportunity to improve 4.4 hectares of degraded ex-grazing land which is currently very poor in biodiversity.
The plan was to plant a mixture of British native trees, up to 10,000 in total; whilst also leaving space for rides and clearings. The ambition was to create a detailed planting scheme which is holistic in its approach – giving due consideration to habitat creation, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration.
Beyond the core planting area, a small enclosed ‘entrance’ to the forest was created which is called the founders forest’. It has picnic benches and educational / informative installations
The long-term maintenance plan for the site is to use a team of engaged volunteers to carry out most activities by hand or using hand tools like strimmers, rather than undertaking machine-based activities like planting by machine which disrupts soil more, releasing more carbon.
Co-forest Acorn is the first of what we hope will be many Co-forests around the UK. It is the coming together of like-minded people and organisations around Bath and Bristol to preserve land and plant new woodland and forestry.
Public access and management:
The land is approximately half a kilometre from the nearest houses in the Almondsbury village. There is a footpath from the village which passes within 10m of the proposed land. There are plans to install a foot gate so that in future there can be an extension to this footpath. The site will eventually be opened to the public to enjoy walks through the woodland, although for an initial period while the new saplings are establishing there will be some limitations to access to ensure saplings aren’t accidentally damaged.
By changing the land from a cattle grazing field to a forest it will become a more valuable asset for biodiversity.
Contribution to Net Zero:
In line with Co-forest’s principles, work on the site is aimed to have as little negative impact on soil quality, carbon emissions and biodiversity as possible, and the outcomes of the site are focused on net biodiversity gain and carbon sequestration.
Engagement, health and wellbeing:
Co-forest Ltd has a community engagement plan which includes local residents, the local primary school, local special educational needs school, local councillors and parish councillors and a number of community groups eg WI, gardening clubs etc