Greenslate Community Farm has about 30 acres of land in total, half of which is arable, buildings and allotments and the rest of which is a mixture of meadow and woodland. The woodland is the result of self-seeding and consists almost entirely of Salix caprea (goat willow).
We want the woodland to be of use in the following ways:
• As an educational and woodland activity resource for children
• As a source of produce to be used directly on the farm and sold to the public
• As a rich and diverse environment which will play host to a range of plants and animals
The woods are already used by children’s groups for parties and woodland craft activities. We plan to improve the area where these activities take place by providing some more infrastructure over the medium term. There is a group looking at putting a funding bid together for this at the moment.
“My Outdoor Classroom CIC has been working with Greenslate farm to run Forest school sessions and bushcraft activities. We have set up and ran a fully outdoors Forest School holiday club for local families. Here, children spent time building dens, lighting fires and using their imaginations. We have also been running Bushcraft birthday parties for children. We want to reconnect children with nature by spending time in the woods”
In the autumn of 2014 we managed to secure a grant from the International Tree Foundation for two projects. The first of these was to clear an area of about a third of an acre in one of the densest parts of the wood and plant about 150 Oak, Lime and Hazel saplings. This was completed in early 2015 and has been very successful so far with the saplings having made excellent progress in their first growing season. It is hoped that over time these species will gradually spread over the entire wood creating some of the diversification we are seeking.
The newly planted new wood took some planting over a few weeks by volunteers and stock not planted was heeled in to keep it in good condition for the next weeks efforts.
Much of the wood from the clearing exercise was used to make charcoal which was used for the barbecue at Greenfest last year.
A small amount of Charcoal left over from Greenfest has been sold via the farm shop. Welcome income for the farm. Above is the Farms label.
The second project covered the creation of a new willow coppice to be planted with varieties for basket making. This was completed early in 2016 and it will be exciting to see those fast-growing species come up this year.
There is something of a problem with waterlogging of the paths used to access the woodland and we are in the process of putting together a bid for funding to address this issue. In addition we will be running a few other small projects in the wood this year – so please come and get involved if you’re interested.
Further information about the woodland can be found in our Greenslate Farm Woodlands Plan