Whiting Landscape delivers woodland forged from partnership between developer and National Forest

A new six-hectare woodland adjacent to a large warehouse and logistics development in the East Midlands has been officially opened.

Image: National Forest Company
Image: National Forest Company

The Penny Wakefield Community Woodland by the village of Ellistown, Leicestershire was delivered by Whiting Landscape and is the result of a two-year partnership between developer Mountpark, the National Forest and the local community.

Part of the ambitious National Forest project to create over 500km2 of public woodland in central England, the project had to replace trees and hedgerows lost to development while also providing screening and meeting drainage requirements for the adjacent 130,000m2 development.

The second and third units of Mountpark's Bardon development near the M1 add to its 120,000m2 unit which now houses one of online retailer Amazon's main UK distribution centres.

The developer appointed environmental planning and forestry consultancy Lockhart Garratt to liaise with stakeholders and design the scheme.

In all, 12,000 trees and shrubs have been planted and 800m of all-ability access pathways installed, linking the woodland to the community and the wider public access network.

Wildlife hibernacula, bat, bird and owl boxes, and a community orchard feature in the site, as well as interpretation signs, wildlife sculptures and benches fashioned using timber from trees lost to the development.

The National Forest green infrastructure and planning officer Philip Metcalfe said: "This project represents precisely the sort of scheme that we are trying to achieve in the forest - a place where woodland can deliver habitat, access and landscape benefits to the communities on its doorstep.

"We have been delighted to work in partnership with Lockhart Garratt and Mountpark on this project and will be looking to promote this scheme as an example of best practice going forward."

The wood is named in memory of a local councillor who helped set up the project.

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