More details have been revealed of a new community woodland proposed for a hectare site south of the old racecourse in Richmond.
Plans have been submitted for the scheme to create a green sanctuary where Richmondshire residents of all ages can “play, exercise, think, learn and relax”.
The scheme is part of the programme of events scheduled to mark the celebration of 950 years of Richmond Castle.
To mark the occasion, the woodland is to be named Rufus Woods after Alan Rufus who first commissioned the castle in 1071.
A team of four, Steve Biggs, Tim Crawshaw, Jo Foster and Phil Upton, from the Original Richmond Business and Tourism Association, are drawing up the plans.
They have been working with local landscape architect Alistair Baldwin over the past year to make the initiative happen.
Landowners Lord Ronaldshay and Michael Sunley have agreed a peppercorn rent of their adjoining pieces of land for planting and access.
The trustees of outdoor social enterprise Just the Job will oversee the project and the Just the Job team, led by Steve Biggs will take control of the day-to-day management once the woodland is planted.
Steve said” “This project is a great example of the community coming together to create something positive for the future.
“We were delighted to have won the support of the Woodland Trust who will be providing trees, hedgerows and manpower.
“We’re also delighted that all three local councils have been behind the scheme from day one.”
Support has come in the form of contributions from the NYCC locality budget controlled by county councillor Stuart Parsons, as well as the district council’s community initiative fund and the town council’s green fund.
Cllr Clive World, chair of Richmondshire District Council, said: “If we’ve learnt anything in 2020 it’s how important connecting with nature is for our health and wellbeing.
“While the impact of COVID may have dominated the headlines this year, let’s also remember the ongoing crisis of climate change.
“This project tackles both of these issues and represents the community coming together to create a valuable asset that can enrich lives for generations to come.”
The woodland project will start with the planting of 950 trees in spring 2021 with more to follow over the next 50 years leading up to the 1,000 anniversary of the castle in 2071.
It will feature native trees and flora chosen for their ability to enhance the landscape and attract wildlife.
Plans are underway to encourage involvement from the people of the town – including a tree sponsorship scheme and initiatives involving local schools and community groups.
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