LOCATION: 34-acre deciduous woodland situated on the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire border.
AIM: To manage an environmentally sustainable community woodland, run a locally-valued and economically-viable social enterprise, share experiences and learning, and to be a responsible employer.
BACKGROUND: Hill Holt Wood (HHW) was purchased by Nigel and Karen Lowthrop in 1995. At that time, it was in a state of decline, suffering from invasive rhododendron and a damaged drainage system, and the majority of quality timber had been removed by the previous owners. By 1997, the Lowthrops had established the Hill Holt Wood Management Committee, intended as a link between themselves and the surrounding community. During the following five years, they focused on establishing a business in the wood based primarily on vocational training and sustainable management. In 2002, Hill Holt Wood was established as a social enterprise.
This initiative highlights the importance of addressing social and environmental issues when trying to encourage wider community engagement in natural spaces, and also highlights how a community-based initiative can become financially sustainable in the longer term. The HHW business plan clearly states that grant funding is only to be sought for the acquisition of capital projects or items as a base to generate further income through onsite activities.
O’Brien, L (2004) Hill Holt Woodland Social Enterprise and Community Woodland. Forest Research: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/eliv_hhw_report.pdf/$FILE/eliv_hhw_report.pdf