Achieving our vision

Ancient oak tree

The vision

“Devon’s woodlands and hedges are sustainably managed and rich in wildlife through being re-connected to the local economy and local communities.”

Key activities helping to achieve our vision

Saving Devon’s Treescapes

This project aims to provide hope and action in the face of the alarming changes that are already affecting our precious treescapes. The project will support local communities across the county to plant and nurture thousands of replacement trees. These won’t be ash trees, but they will be of other native Devon species including oak, field maple, aspen, lime, beech, birch, and hazel. The project will enable people to care for and celebrate our treasured treescapes, supporting local action for wildlife and climate change. There are many ways you can get involved from planting trees to recording butterflies visit the Saving Devons Treescapes webpage for further information.

Review of wood stove air pollutants

Following concerns about air pollutants released from wood stoves being so damaging to human health as to be a major concern, Devon County Council commissioned the Centre for Energy and the Environment, Exeter University, to undertake a review in 2018

Woodheat Project

A steering group comprising the Forestry Commission, Devon County Council and the North Devon Biosphere Reserve has successfully submitted a project bid for ESIF funding (European Structural and Investment Funds) to Department for Communities and Local Government, DCLG, on behalf of Natural Devon’s Wood for Good subgroup and the Heart of the South West’s Rural Special Interest Group. The project is titled Woodheat and intends to increase demand for wood fuel in the Heart of the South West area by encouraging wood-fired district heating installation.

Wood for Good Workshop May 2015

The Devon Hedge Group facilitated a workshop with partners to co-ordinate activity relating to producing woodfuel from small farm woodlands and hedges, ensuring that funding opportunities are not overlooked or missed. The notes from woodfuel workshop are available to read back

Devon Ash Dieback Conference March 2015

Ash dieback is a disease that is already devastating the countryside in parts of Suffolk and Kent.  In the next decade or two we are highly likely to lose nearly all our ash in Devon.  Devon Hedge Group and Bicton College held a workshop  on 25 March 2015 to discuss how best to react to this issue.  Also see the Forestry Commission’s latest document on the management of ash dieback in  England.
Devon ash dieback workshop 25 March 2015 – actions identified
Devon ash dieback workshop 25 March 2015 – plenary session notes

Outline funding bid

An outline funding bid to support the forestry sector has been presented to the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The bid was developed by Natural Devon and the Forestry Task & Finish sub-group of the Local Enterprise Partnership’s Rural Special Interest Group. The bid is being developed further by the Silvanus Trust on behalf of the LEP and LNP.

Linking Woodfuel projects July 2014

Partners were brought together in  to link-up woodfuel projects and funding bids that are already being developed in Devon, and to determine where support gaps exist in previous projects’ delivery. Notes from the woodfuel meeting are available to read back.

Examples of delivery projects by our partners

  • Renewable Heat@Work – run by Devon County Council, RegenSW and the Forestry Commission during 2013, offered business engagement events and a Biomass Boiler Open Day which attracted businesses and residents to visit 30 boiler installations in Devon.
  • South West Bio Heat Programme – launched in 2007 with funding from the South West of England Regional Development Agency and the Forestry Commission. The programme included demand creation, biomass fuel supply and training and skills development all summarised in a South West Bio Heat report.
  • Working Our Woodlands – brought more private woodland in the Blackdown Hills and East Devon area into management. From Nov 2009-Oct 2011 the Silvanus Trust worked in partnership with the Blackdowns and East Devon Woodland Association to operate effectively in the area. The project continued as part of Beef, Butterflies and Trees.
  • Beef, Butterflies and Trees – provided locally-owned advice, training and support from January 2012 to December 2013 for land owners, managers and contractors involved with woodland, wet heaths and old pastures within the Blackdown Hills and East Devon AONB.
  • Devon Ward Forester – was launched in spring 2010 by Devon County Council and the Forestry Commission. It brings clusters of woodland areas together to achieve economies of scale, access new markets and ensure supply for the growing woodfuel market. Over 3,800 hectares of woodland within Devon is part of the project.
  • CulmWoods Woodland CoOp -Members of the group will have access to woodfuel in exchange for work, pro rata, with all machinery operated by certificated members and contractors, all fire wood quality going to the membership
  • Neroche Woodlanders – is a social enterprise representing a collaborative partnership between local people, independent practitioners, and the Forestry Commission. From a modest beginning the project hopes to expand its provision of timber, firewood and processed timber products from Young Wood over the coming years. Find out more at the Neroche Woodlanders’ website.
  • Dartmoor Wood Fuel CoOp – was setup in 2009, the aim of the project is to encourage local boiler installations and woodland owners to collaborate which will enable us to take the co-operative forward in promoting bio-mass and the environmental benefit.
  • Axewoods CoOp – is well established and working in private woodland. Funded by Making It Local.
  • The Sustainable Energy Across the Common Space (SEACS) – project ran from 2011 – 2014. It established  the South West Devon Community Energy Partnership, the North Devon Biosphere Energy Partnership and a community energy group called 361 Energy active around Ilfracombe and Braunton. An exchange visit on wood fuel was arranged with project partners in Brittany who are interested in promoting wood fuel and have a long history of managing hedgerows and small woodland.  Learning from the SEACS partners’ experience of managing hedgerows, promoting domestic scale boilers, and using biomass boilers in public buildings has been shared. The project’s experience of enabling communities and schools to take control of their energy future were turned into an online toolkit