WILTSHIRE WEST DISTRICT
Jubilee Wood Extension
New Woodland at Jubilee Wood
The new woodland project aims to enable the members of our thriving Scout District to do something positive to fight climate change, improve air quality and save wildlife. It will increase biodiversity and help flood management as well as provide more space for outdoor activities and provide important new habitats for birds, bats and other wildlife and will ensure that these neighbouring fields can never be used for anything else.
Fields that we hope to purchase are set out below, the grey area towards the bottom shows the route for the diversion of the A350:
Owning these 3 fields and creating a total of 16 Ha of native deciduous woodland will, in time, give us space to accommodate more bookings. This is important as the number of bookings has increased every year since we opened in 2012 and this trend will continue as the local population increases. It would also allow us to make less use of the important wildlife sanctuary of Biss Wood and, although parts will probably need to be open to the public, will give us plenty of room to conduct scout activities completely separate from the public.
The project will enable us to help the Green Recovery and counteract the hopelessness that many feel about getting anything done to counter the very real and growing problem of climate change and its effect on wildlife. We hope that playing a practical part in this project will be beneficial for the mental and physical well-being of our members and, importantly, we hope that it will aid our own recovery after the pandemic by looking beyond current difficulties, instilling a sense of purpose amongst our members and, through publicity, remind those that have lost interest that we are still here and are attempting something really worthwhile in which we hope that they will join by taking part in a community activity to plant trees, create new wildlife habitats and help fight climate change, bringing communities together and contributing towards a better society. The 25,000 trees that we hope to plant would lock up a staggering 4000 tonnes of carbon in the next 30 years.
We hope to enlist the help of our young members to design the layout of the woodland and features such as ponds and wildflower meadows. We plan to include purpose-built wildlife habitats, such as a bat house, as well as educational features like a bat observation platform and information boards as well as more storage for equipment. We hope also to provide a new, much safer, access to the site from the West Ashton Road via a new track.
All this would not come cheap. Including the cost of our own volunteer labour, valued at £55,000, the current estimate is £605,000. The District will contribute £5000. £33,000 has been promised so far in grants and donations. A Government woodland creation grant would be worth £140,000 (plus annual maintenance grants). We are in discussion with Wiltshire Council for a payment of £228,000 which, if this succeeds, would leave us around £144,000 to raise in grants from bodies such as the Heritage Lottery Fund.
We are progressing the detailed studies that support our application for the Government Woodland creation grant, but have paused applications for grants while we await the results of the survey to confirm that the majority of the membership support this exciting project. We are also waiting for the owners of two of the fields to confirm that they are willing to sell to us rather than develop the land in some other way and for the developer to agree to sell us that part of the field that will not be required for the A350 when this is diverted as part of the huge Ashton Gate housing development.