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It's History Now!

Public Consultation Meeting on 15th May 2002

In case you are not aware, 505 acres of farmland surrounding Fordham, has been given to the Trust by an anonymous donor for a period of 99 years. Having now taken time to consider the possibilities of how to proceed, Andy Beer with Jack the dog, Geoff Sinclair and Janet Watt from 'The Woodland Trust' gave a guided tour of the newly acquired land, which is due to be handed over to them in October 2002.


Local residents turned out in force (around 100 people) to take the tour and to see an overview of the plans to create a mixture of woodland, heath and wetland. The idea is that 50/60% of the land will eventually be planted with trees. Grasslands and wetlands will take up the remainder. A small area of archaeological interest will be left as grassland to allow for possible future excavation. Special consideration is being given to retain some of the much enjoyed scenic views, that might otherwise be lost by tree planting.

The importance of the rural landscape, to residents and people visiting the area, has been kept in mind and although some views may be changed, by the planting of trees, every effort will be made to minimise this. During the initial 4 to 5 years, the Trust, will continue to farm some of the land until the planting is well under way. This will enable them to bring in revenue, which will help to finance the project. As they pointed out, the land has been given to them but no money.

Following the walk, we adjourned to the Village Hall to view maps of the land, which showed field names, designated footpaths, possible new footpaths, etc. Residents were invited to ask questions and give their own ideas about how they see the future of the land. Many people were keen to see some arable farming remain and made various suggestions about how we might work with the Trust to enable them to realise their plans.

The Trust have offered to take the residents of Fordham to visit another of their projects which was planted about 5 years ago, to give an idea of what could be expected. They are also keen to hear from local people who will be available to offer their services to help with the many tasks ahead. One suggestion was to hold fund-raising events. The Trust has agreed to send details of the project to us, as it unfolds, and will be posted on this website and elsewhere as it becomes available.



The draft habitat creation proposals are summarised on the map.

These proposals are intended as a starting point and it is expected that the plans may change following consultation with local people, or on the basis of new information. The proposals reflect the following:

1. The need to create a significant area of woodland in line with the wishes of the donor.

2. The need to complement the character of the surrounding landscape.

3. A request from a number of local people that we should seek to retain key views from the village where possible, particularly over the Colne Valley.

4. Our wish to create large linked areas of habitat and avoid a 'bitty' design.

5. The significant opportunity to create new wetland habitat

6. The presence of archaeological remains that preclude tree planting (mainly to the south of Fordham).

These proposals will now be evaluated by a formal Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which will be undertaken over the summer of 2002. This will include surveys of the existing plant and bird life, further archaeological studies and a landscape assessment. The results of this will be made publicly available in the autumn of 2002.

Woodland creation

Our aim is to create a native woodland and our choice of tree species will be informed by the soil type and also by the trees found in neighbouring ancient woods (such as Hillhouse Wood). We will aim to plant lots of trees with the help of volunteers and the trees will be planted in wavy lines to create a natural effect. The trees will be small (30-40cm high) and around two metres apart

Fencing and gates

We will need to fence the land, either to contain grazing animals or to exclude rabbits from the newly planted areas. We will install gates at all the path entrances to ensure that the land is accessible. Where possible we will fence close to hedgelines to reduce the visual impact of the fencing.


Footpaths and new permissive paths will be wide and grass covered. As a rule, we do not put hard surfaces on paths, but we may explore this on one or two routes if there is a clear need (subject to obtaining funding and planning consent). Currently some of the paths are used by horses under the East Anglian Farm Rides scheme. We are likely to continue with this arrangement, although we may amend some of the riding routes.

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