Leeds parks win Forestry Commission award

The John Boddy Trophy for excellence in woodland management has been awarded to Leeds City Council's parks and countryside service.

Left to right: James Jesson, Jenny Watts and Glenn Gorner from Leeds City Council’s parks and countryside service along with Yorkshire Agricultural Society President-elect Sir Ken Morrison - image: Leeds City Council
Left to right: James Jesson, Jenny Watts and Glenn Gorner from Leeds City Council’s parks and countryside service along with Yorkshire Agricultural Society President-elect Sir Ken Morrison - image: Leeds City Council

Awarded by the Forestry Commission, the prize recognises the service’s work on the Billy Wood woodland at Kippax, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in the Townclose Hills local nature reserve.

Leeds City Council’s acting head of parks and countryside Sean Flesher said:  "This achievement is a reflection of a great team effort by our officers working together with the Friends of Billy Wood who offer invaluable support to what we are striving to achieve there so this trophy is a wonderful reward for their efforts and we are very proud."

The council is currently five years into a seven year redevelopment plan at Billy Wood which seeks to convert the area using coppicing techniques to allow a regular supply of wood and encouraging regrowth of trees at different levels which improves biodiversity and provides a variety of habitats for wildlife.

The work is supported by grant aid from the Forestry Commission's English Woodland Grant Scheme with the Friends of Billy Wood local community also playing a key role in the management of the site.

Other shortlisted finalists for the award included the Duncombe Park Estate's National Nature Reserve at Helmsley in North Yorkshire and the North York Moors National Park's Levisham Wood to claim the prize.

The trophy was presented to the service by Yorkshire Agricultural Society President-elect Sir Ken Morrison and the chief executive of trophy sponsors John Boddy Timber Frank Boddy.

It follows Chelsea Flower Show success for the parks staff who won their first ever gold medal earlier this summer.

Flesher added:  "It has been a fantastic few weeks for the parks and countryside service in Leeds and we are delighted to have won this award.

To find out more about Billy Wood and Townclose Hills Local Nature Reserve, go to www.leeds.gov.uk and search for Townclose Hills.


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