For the last month the National Trust and Woodland Trust have been awaiting news of an ambitious bid for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). We are excited to announce that we have been successful and we are celebrating the award of £730,000 from the HLF to enhance the restoration of Fingle Woods. To mark the occasion we felt that this film made last Spring in Fingle Woods, really captures why the woods are so special.
David Rickwood, Woodland Trust site manager, said:
“Fingle is a real jewel in the crown of the Dartmoor countryside and we’ve been delighted with the response to our restoration efforts so far… The next step is to make the woods really become integrated into peoples’ lives locally and thanks to the HLF funding we hope to work with diverse groups of people and provide unique opportunities for people who live, learn and work nearby.”
Heather Kay, General Manager of Castle Drogo said: “We’re thrilled to receive the award from the Heritage Lottery Fund. We’re looking forward to working together with the Woodland Trust to improve the natural habitat for wildlife, put in place our plans to restore the woodland and help make this special place accessible to everyone.”
Over the next five years this funding will be used to help us transform the woods into a place for the local community to ‘live, work and learn’. Staff posts to support the restoration are being recruited including a ranger and a community engagement officer and a number of internships will also be on offer.
Local schools will be supported with resources to make use of the woods to work towards a John Muir Award and the charities are aiming to work with local community groups to enable them to learn more and share their experiences in relation to this beautiful woodland.
The grant will support further restoration of over 200 hectares of ancient woodland, which was once covered in native broadleaf trees but was subsequently replanted with conifers earlier in the 20th Century.
Ancient earthworks around the Wooston Castle – the grant will help us carry out sensitive managment to protect this Scheduled Ancient Monument
The funding will also help preserve the historic Wooston Castle an Iron Age hill fort, to try and reverse its decline and remove it from the Heritage at Risk Register and develop interpretation for people to learn more about the monument.
Mick Jones, Head Ranger for North Dartmoor at the National Trust said:
“The funding is a real boost to Fingle Woods and will make a huge contribution to the restoration work we can do to the woodland, preserving Wooston Castle hill fort and monitoring wildlife in the area. It will also help create plenty of opportunities to get volunteers involved with our work and we look forward to welcoming more people on board.”
Other activity which the funding will support includes:
- Archaeological excavations and open days covering Fingle Mill, Wooston Castle and the charcoal platforms
- Using the woods to demonstrate best practice in ancient woodland restoration and provide training to forestry contractors and staff on restoration techniques
- Provision of a range of volunteering opportunities including practical conservation, photography, visitor welcome, guided walks and talks, event support and species monitoring
- Provision of more information and orientation to allow visitors to make full use of the woods
The Woodland Trust and the National Trust took ownership of Fingle Woods in the Summer of 2014 and this blog has been a great way of sharing and recording our work so far. We are looking at ways to make this more interactive and easy for you to find out all that is happening at the woods. So please keep heading back to see the changes and to find out how the project is progressing.