Working Woodlands Project

The Working Woodlands project aims to protect, enhance and promote the woodlands of the Greensand Ridge for their biodiversity, heritage and recreational value, their role in the landscape, as providers of ecosystem services, and as part of the rural economy.

Main objectives of the project are to:

  • better understand our local woodlands, their importance, the challenges they face and possible solutions
  • raise awareness of the importance of our local woodlands and their management and encourage people to visit and enjoy them responsibly
  • promote the beneficial and sustainable management of our local woodlands
  • continue to develop the Working Woodlands Centre as a base for training, education and visiting Maulden Wood, and as a focus for woodland initiatives on the Greensand Ridge

The Working Woodlands Centre, head office of The Greensand Trust located at the entrance of Maulden Wood, offers workshop and training facilities to support the management of Bedfordshire's woodlands. It was created to help bring under-managed and under-utilised woodlands back into positive management.

The centre provides:

  • Start-up workshop facilities to support new and developing woodland-related businesses
  • Training facilities for those owning, managing or working in woodlands
  • Educational facilities for school, college and adult and children's education groups
  • An office and volunteer base for The Greensand Trust

We hope this approach will help stimulate the rural economy associated with woodlands and wood products, creating and sustaining local jobs, enhancing biodiversity and leading to positive woodland management and carbon reduction.

Why woodlands need managing

For centuries woodlands played a crucial role in everyday life with traditional woodland management systems such as coppicing providing timber for building, fencing and fuel. The rotational cutting of coppice plots led to a continuous patchwork of re-growth, beneficial to a wide variety of wildlife.

From the mid-19th century onwards, increased industrialisation and the availability of cheap alternative products led to a steep decline in woodland management, which in turn threatened species associated with managed woodlands. Supporting and increasing woodland management is therefore vital to secure the future of our woodlands, particularly ancient woodlands which have been managed in this way for centuries.

The long-term plan

When resources can be identified we will look to begin the second phase of the Working Woodlands Centre project which will focus on improving the visitor experience to Maulden Wood. This will include:

  • Woodshop providing a retail outlet for local wood products
  • Interpretation to raise awareness of woodlands, their wildlife, history and management
  • Cafe with indoor seating

Location

The Working Woodlands Centre is located in Deadman's Hill lay-by, adjacent to the A6 between Haynes West End and Clophill on the Luton to Bedford stretch. The workshops are a short distance away within Maulden Wood.

While the centre is not open to the public, there is parking available for visitors to Maulden Wood - £1 for the day (Greensand Pass holders can also use their pass at this venue).

To contact the office call 01234 743666 during office hours or email: [email protected]