Horticulture Week Custodian Award - Best Partnership: Third Sector (parks, gardens or tree care)

Winner - Greenbelt Group and the Woodland Trust for Glenrothes Woodlands

Greenbelt Group Ltd., Glenrothes Woodlands, Fife

Glenrothes, Fife, the first post-war town built in Scotland was designed around its existing woodland and its motto is "ex terra vis" - "from the Earth, comes strength".

Greenbelt has managed the 213-hectare Glenrothes Woodlands in conjunction with the Woodland Trust since 2002, as is currently working to an agreed 10-year management plan which lasts until 2022 which ensures the woodland areas are safe and accessible and managed in a financially and environmentally-sustainable manner. The team prides itself in enjoying significant positive engagement with several local charities, conscientious horticultural bodies and local schools and nurseries, always seeking to drive an interest in sustainable horticulture.

The woodlands comprise a variety of tree types, including established broadleaf, as well as mature broadleaf and conifer, which Greenbelt divides into 68 unique 'woodland compartments' - each with their own particular shape, quirks and traits to recognise, preserve and accentuate. The team tailors maintenance and management according to important local factors on a compartment-by-compartment basis which plays to each one’s strength but also mitigate any risks or weaknesses identified during rolling inspection programmes.

Greenbelt brings a wealth of diverse skills and experience to its management of the Glenrothes woodlands, and is very proud to have worked closely alongside the Woodland Trust for 17 years. The team regularly communicates with homeowners regarding work programmes and with contractor Esk Valley Landscapes and the Woodland meets quarterly with councillors and residential groups

Community partnerships include working with Ladybird Nurture Centre, a local nursery which utilises sections of the woodlands for outdoor learning, exercise and play and the local Warout Primary School and Kingshorn Ecology Centre.

Last year Greenbelt cleared a space and donated 100 whip tree saplings which allowed around 90 schoolchildren aged 9-12 to plant their own tree in an areas woodland near their school. In 2016-17 Greenbelt commissioned Fife-based forestry contractor and registered charity Living Solutions to carry out selected clearance and tree works. This social enterprise trains long-term unemployed people in forestry, horticulture, mechanical maintenance and health and safety.

Staff are paid a living wage throughout the intensive year-long apprenticeship programme, and gain work in industry positions afterwards. The team also recycles the timber from arboricultural works in-house, creating furniture, outdoor decking and prefabricated homes, intended to help alleviate homelessness. Living Solutions even built its own office from the sustainable home-grown Scottish timber, generated incidentally through woodland works.


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