Date published: 2023-05-15 | Category: parks, Communities and volunteering, Tackling the climate and ecological emergency, Giving people a bigger say
Residents in Bath and North East Somerset are being invited to have their say on a range of possible improvements for a valuable green space in Keynsham.
Manor Road Community Woodland to the east of the town, near Saltford, is a popular and well-used haven between the two communities and is designated as a local nature reserve on green belt land.
Bath & North East Somerset Council manages the woodland with support from the Friends of Manor Road Community Woodland to conserve its woodland, meadow and water environments, which are home to diverse wildlife and plant species.
New housing developments in and around Keynsham are likely to increase the number of people who use the woodland, so the council plan to fund improvements to ensure the space benefits the community and protects resident wildlife for the future.
The improvement works will be funded by Section 106 payments which councils receive from developers to improve local amenities for new and existing residents.
The proposals include:
- Improvements to gates and entrances and resurfaced pathways to improve safety and increase accessibility.
- Footpath signage and boundary marking to make wayfinding easier.
- New seating to provide more places to rest and relax in the woodland.
- A small car park for visitors with mobility needs and to encourage visitors from further away.
- New natural play facilities such as wobble beams, den-building and rope swings.
- A new pond and improvements to the existing pond, with features to encourage wildlife such as log piles, bug hotels and bird and bat nesting boxes.
Residents are asked to have their say in the consultation to help determine how the Section 106 funding will be spent. Feedback received will also help inform a new management plan for the woodland. The consultation opens today (May 15) and runs until Friday, July 14.
There will also be a drop-in event at the wildflower meadow in the woodland on Sunday, May 21 from 12pm-2pm where people can find out more. Foxglove Forest School will be in attendance and leading nature activities for children.
Councillor Kevin Guy, Leader, Bath & North East Somerset Liberal Democrat Group, said: “Manor Road Community Woodland is already a popular green space which is well used by families, dog walkers and runners – and this is bound to increase as we welcome new residents to the area. It’s also a sanctuary for many bird and insect species, foxes, badgers and amphibians.
“Through our consultation we’d like to find out who is using the space and why, so we can plan how to manage the woodland in the future and find out the priorities for improvement. Making the woodland the best it can be is part of our wider plan to create a greener and healthier environment and help tackle the ecological emergency.”
John Aldridge, Friends of Manor Road Community Woodland, said: “The Friends of the Woodland are delighted that money has become available to spend on the woodland. We expect that its prime purpose will be to maintain and enhance the nature reserve and are aware of the problem of muddy footpaths particularly during the winter. Thoughts and ideas from other users of the woodland will be very useful in taking this project forward.”
The history of Manor Road Community Woodland includes more than 19,000 trees and shrubs having been planted on the 21-hectare site since 1993, with grant aid from the Forestry Commission. A wildflower meadow was planted in 2005 and a pond provides feeding and breeding sites for local wildlife.
A number of agencies and organisations have helped to finance maintenance and improvement work in the woodland in previous years, including Bath & North East Somerset Council, the Countryside Agency, Forest of Avon, Avon Valley Partnership, Keynsham Town Council and The Woodland Trust.