Welcome to the new Plymouth and South Devon Community Forest
Thousands of new trees will be planted across Plymouth and South Devon, after the area was chosen to become England's 11th Community Forest.
The Plymouth and South Devon Community Forest (P&SD Community Forest) will stretch from the heart of the city to the edge of the moor, encompassing 1,900 hectares of land to form a mosaic of different forest habitats.
Unlike traditional forests, community forests aren't geographically restricted to one place. Instead, they are a spread out across a mix of community woodland, private woodland, on street, urban woodland, wooded habitat corridors and hedgerows.
It is envisaged that by connecting the rich ecosystems and habitats of Dartmoor and the wider South Devon area and bringing them into the city we can improve our connection to, and enjoyment of nature for future generations.
Delivering the P&SD Community Forest for future generations is a core part of the proposal in recognition of young people's voices in recent climate emergency discussions and the recovery from the impact of Covid.
The opportunities that the P&SD Community Forest creates will ensure skills development and job creation will be relevant to today and tomorrow's young people. It will also generate a sustainable natural asset for future generations.
Furthermore, the planning of the P&SD Community Forest fulfils an action on the Climate Emergency Action Plan, allowing the Council to play a leadership role by working with partners and the local community across the city to raise awareness and understanding around climate change.
The proposals have been drawn up by a broad initial partnership between:
- Plymouth City Council,
- National Trust,
- Woodland Trust,
- South Hams District Council and West Devon Borough Council,
- the Forestry Commission,
- Forestry England,
- Devon Wildlife Trust,
- Plymouth Tree Partnership and
- Dartmoor National Park
It is funded through the Department of Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs' Nature for Climate fund.
Councillor Patrick Nicholson, Deputy Leader of Plymouth City Council, said: "We are absolutely delighted to be involved in such a brilliant and important project.
"The new P&SD Community Forest will not only complement our commitment to tree planting and the continuing greening of our city, which is important post COVID, but ties in perfectly with our plans for education and skills training.
"I look forward to the delivery of this project and the community's involvement."
Councillor Judy Pearce, Leader of South Hams District Council said: "The ambitious aspiration for the community forest can deliver real and lasting benefits for nature and our local communities."
Councillor Neil Jory, Leader of West Devon Borough Council added: "This is a fantastic opportunity to strengthen the link between people and their local environment, for work and skills, but also much needed play and relaxation."
Toby Fox, Assistant Director for Devon, National Trust, said: "The community forest will lock in carbon, reduce pollution and create important habitats for wildlife. It will create a network of beautiful and accessible places for local people to enjoy, and improve their health and well-being.
"It will drive investment, jobs and skills in the city, with opportunities for young people at its heart. We are delighted to be a partner in this exciting opportunity for Plymouth and South Devon."
Ross Kennerley, Regional director South West England at the Woodland Trust, said: "The Woodland Trust is proud to be a partner in this new community forest which comes at a time of climate emergency, ecological breakdown and the fallout of the Coronavirus pandemic.
"The Community Forest represents an exceptional opportunity to respond to these crises by increasing tree cover and reconnecting communities to nature."
With the forest funding now approved through the England Community Forest, Trees for Climate Programme, supported by Defra through the Nature for Climate Fund, the partnership will begin work with the next phase of the development.
This will involve appointing a project delivery team, consulting on, and developing the forest plan and identifying sites for the first year's planting.
Issued 23 June 2021