South Pennine Woodlands
The woodlands of the South Pennines are a crucial environmental, economic and social resource. The woodlands provide a range of ecosystem services to communities within the South Pennines and the surrounding conurbations eg through helping to slow the rate of flow of rainwater through the various catchments of the area. Woodlands can also provide a vital resource for the development of a local “green economy” either as a source of fuel or as a setting for traditional rural crafts. Meanwhile, the woodlands of the South Pennines provide a link to the early industrial history of the area and an environment for education and leisure activities. However, the woodlands of the South Pennines are a “sparse” (Natural England, NCA profile 2012) resource “generally limited to the steep sides of valleys”. Woodlands cover approx. 4 % of the South Pennines, a figure well below the national average. The woodlands of the South Pennines and the opportunities for future development have been identified as an early priority for the South Pennines Local Nature Partnership.
Pennine Prospects now wishes to maximise the benefits of this valuable habitat through an evolving woodland strategy with four elements.
Increasing woodland cover : Significant opportunities exist to increase woodland cover across the South Pennines. A woodland opportunities map has recently been produced with financial support from the Forestry Commission.
Download the Woodland Opportunity Portfolio for the South Pennines National Character Area (2MB PDF)
Note : these sites are purely indicative at this stage pending further investigation.
The South Pennines is served by a number of well-established woodland creation initiatives. Namely:
• The White Rose Forest and local delivery partners across West Yorkshire such as Treesponsibility, the Forest of Bradford and the Colne Valley Tree Society.
• The Pennine Edge and Red Rose Forest initiatives in Greater Manchester.
• The Forest of Burnley in Lancashire.
Meanwhile, many of Pennine Prospects’ Company Members, such as the utility companies and the local authorities, have active tree planting and woodland management programmes.
Woodland management : Many of the existing woodlands within the South Pennines are poorly managed, the full range of benefits that they provide is not being realised. This issue has been recognised by Company Members and other organisations who are now working to bring their woodland estate into active management. Pennine Prospects will work with its existing Members and other woodland owners to increase the management of woodlands across the South Pennines.
Maximising the economic opportunities of the woodlands of the South Pennines: The woodlands of the South Pennines represent an under-utilised economic resource. However, a number of organisations are working to develop an income from the woodlands of the South Pennines through the development of a more coordinated and connected woodland supply chain. Pennine Prospects will work with Company Members and other organisations to identify opportunities to develop a “green economy” based around a woodland supply chain.
Interpreting and celebrating the woodland heritage of the South Pennines
Peter Coates’ Working Horses at Hardcastle Crags at the Celebrating Woodland Heritage Event.
The National Character Area profile for the South Pennines calls for improved “access and interpretation of historic sites and features, to reveal their role in the development of the landscape over time, for the enjoyment and understanding of the public”. Pennine Prospects has developed this approach through the Watershed Landscape project and is exploring how to bring the heritage of our South Pennine Woodlands to a wider audience. Over 15 organisations attended the Celebrating Our Woodland Heritage event on the 30th November 2012 at Hardcastle Crags. With an inspiring presentation by Professor Ian Rotherham on the Woodland Heritage Champions Project and by Paul Boothroyd from South Leeds Archaeology Group and Andrew Marsh, the ranger at Hardcastle Crags. In the afternoon there were demonstrations by Black Bark Woodland Management , Paul Coates’ Working Horses and South Leeds Archaeology Group who have carried out an archaeological excavation of a charcoal hearth at Hardcastle Crags.
Visit Professor Ian Rotherham’s website …
Hywel from Black Bark woodland Management Co-operative describes how to develop new products and markets through sustainable woodland management.