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We Are Addressing Urgent Need To Expand Woodland Creation

Our Estates Director has addressed a national conference on how to fulfil ambitious new goals for woodland creation in England and Wales.

Roy Cox was among a series of speakers, which included Government Minister Lord Goldsmith, chair of the Forestry Commission and the chief executive of the Land Trust.

As part of the Accelerating Woodland Creation & Management event, Roy discussed our long-term partnership with leading UK construction and regeneration group Morgan Sindall plc to create nine new woodlands on the estate.

The new woodlands will incorporate more than 270,000 trees and cover a total of 138 hectares. Among the 28 species of trees to be planted will be saplings grown from acorns collected in High Park, which is home to the highest number of ancient oak trees in Europe.

The woods will also feature a total of 15.5km of new public footpaths and a forest school. Planting is due to start in November the woodlands will sequester 25,000 tonnes of carbon as part of a 25-year programme.

“This project will have a real and immediate impact on the Dorn Valley woodland at Blenheim, creating a ‘green corridor’ along the River Dorn which will prevent soil erosion into the world-famous Blenheim Great Lake,” said Roy Cox, our Estates Director.

“Crucially, it will also offer the opportunity for local people of all ages to get involved and improve the landscape we all share,” he added.

Morgan Sindall is helping fund, design and create the woodlands, in collaboration with Cotswolds-based forestry company, Nicholsons.

The project has been welcomed by Oxford University’s Professor of Biodiversity, Kathy Willis, principal of St Edmund Hall.

“This project demonstrates an understanding of the need for considered, long-term thinking around our woodlands and an appreciation of the crucial role they play in creating spaces that contribute to creating natural capital and enhancing human wellbeing,” she said.

The new woodlands are part of our ongoing commitment to becoming the UK’s first estate to demonstrate carbon-positive land management.

Their aim is to lead the way for other estates to protect, utilise and share the benefits of huge areas of British countryside.

In 2019 we launched out revolutionary Land Strategy which covers all aspects of the Oxfordshire UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The strategy is based on five main areas. Connecting communities with a network of paths and cycle routes to promote green travel. Sharing the health and wellbeing benefits of land with local communities.

Valuing natural capital to create new income streams. Demonstrating the role of carbon-positive land management in tackling climate change, and forming partnerships with artisans and producers to start re-delivering economic gain to the local area.

Find out more about our Land Strategy View the Woodland Map