Land Trust Appointed To Manage Ancient Heybridge Wood
Land management charity The Land Trust has been appointed by Countryside to manage Heybridge Wood, which comprises 30 acres of protected ancient woodland, at their new Westcombe Park development on the outskirts of Maldon.
The preservation and management of Heybridge Wood formed an integral part of Countryside’s vision for Westcombe Park, which once completed will provide over 1,000 new homes within a vibrant and integrated community.
Currently managing over 2,000 hectares of land across the country, the preservation and maintenance of Heybridge Wood is connected to the Land Trust’s mission of providing sustainably managed open space and green infrastructure for community benefit, that has positive impacts on the economy, environment and society. The Trust is well placed in delivering the Heybridge Woodland Management Plan, which was agreed by Maldon District Council following a consultation with Natural England.
The Heybridge Woodland Management Plan details the necessary sympathetic works needed to preserve and enhance the natural habitat and existing nature of the woods, protecting its ecological value, woodland character and providing public access for recreational use through a network of footpaths and cycle paths linking to the greenspace. An engagement plan offering the local community organised educational and physical activities has been agreed, creating opportunities to increase overall well-being and connections to nature.
Over the next 12 months the Land Trust will be assessing the impact of recent storms on the woodland trees. From there, necessary arboricultural works will be carried out to ensure the overall health of the wood and its ecosystem.
Land Trust Chief Executive, Euan Hall said: “Preserving ancient woodland is of significant importance and The Land Trust believes that the management of greenspaces is much more than simple maintenance; it’s the application of a careful and considerate plan that safeguards the future for both the environment and the local community. We welcomed the opportunity of working with Countryside again and will use our expertise to full effect.”
Martin Leach, Managing Director, Strategic Land and Major Projects, Countryside said: “The creation of Westcombe Park has allowed the ancient Heybridge Wood to be conserved in perpetuity and managed by the Land Trust in a way that will increase biodiversity, allowing the public and wildlife to enjoy the space together. Countryside has worked with the Land Trust on a number of projects. The Land Trust have a strong track record of enhancing habitats, involving local people and managing areas for community benefit.”