Forest of Marston Vale
The Forest of Marston Vale has been dedicated to the QCC. It covers 15,799 hectares and is one of England’s 12 Community Forests. A tree-planting project in the Forest has a target to increase woodland cover to 30%.
At the start of the project in 1991, the designated ‘forest’ area of the Forest of Marston Vale only had approximately 3% woodland cover. Since 1991 an additional 2817 acres has been planted with over 1.25 million trees, to create a number of new publicly accessible woodlands. This has increased the canopy cover to over 15% across the designated Forest of Marston Vale area. All new trees planted are native and been grown from locally collected broadleaf tree seed.
Over 100 local volunteers regularly give their time to support the work of the charity, contributing in excess of 10,000 hours of volunteer time, which is equivalent to 7 FTE members of staff. There are local residents and a volunteer representative appointed as trustees on the charity’s main board.
There are 13 distinct woodlands that have been planted with the support of local people, schools and businesses, all joining in on the annual tree planting days.
The Forest of Marston Vale Trust was formed in 1997 as an independent environmental charity and social enterprise, to deliver the creation of the Forest of Marston Vale. As a charity, the Trust has a ‘Forest Plan’, to deliver social, economic and social improvement; key to which is the planting of trees and sustainable woodland management. It does this by brokering partnerships with the public, private sectors and charitable organisations.
Through environmentally led regeneration, the project aims to transform the landscape and the perception of the area, making it somewhere people want to live, work and enjoy their leisure time. It aims to use trees to increase the environmental quality of landscapes, and therefore stimulate economic and social regeneration.