10 November 2015
A natural transformation for Aldershot’s woodlands
Grainger officially hands over 270 acres of woodland to The Land Trust for
management in partnership with the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership
Wednesday 11th November - Yesterday marked the official handover of 271.8 acres of restored woodland from Grainger, the company building the new neighbourhood at Wellesley, to the Land Trust and Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership.
The Land Trust, a national land management charity, will formally take over the management of the Wellesley Woodlands, with local organisation Blackwater Valley
Countryside Partnership (BVCP) undertaking the day-to-day management on its behalf. Together they will manage, conserve and protect the woodlands and open spaces for years to come.
For the past year, the mixed woodlands have been the subject of an extensive clear up operation, removing derelict army structures left over from past military training and enhancing the ecological interest of the range of habitats present.
Reminders of it’s military past can still be spotted around the woodlands with historic local landmarks such as the Wellington Monument and the old firing range walls, which are scattered throughout.
The newly restored Wellesley Woodlands offer surrounding communities a wonderful outdoor space, which can be accessed through a series of trails that link to surrounding neighbourhood areas. These include a trail specifically designed for disabled users.
Wellesley Woodlands is divided into four main areas including Duke’s Wood, Lake and Canalside, Thorn Hill and Heather Hill. Each area has plenty to offer the community including wildlife habitats, paths for running and walking, freshwater lakes and picnic spots.
Euan Hall, CEO of the Land Trust said, “We are delighted to be taking on the long term management of Wellesley Woodlands. Working in partnership with Grainger has ensured these wonderful green spaces are unlocked, enabling us to provide a range of benefits to the community, attracting new people and businesses to the area.”
Local families are being invited to celebrate the opening at the Wellesley Woodlands
Festival this Saturday 14th November, to publicly mark the handover of the woodlands to the management of the Land Trust and Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership.
Festival organisers the Land Trust, Grainger and Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership have put together a day of activities such as arts and crafts, educational nature tours and woodland walks for all the family.
Alan Chitson, a lifelong Aldershot resident and Grainger’s project manager at
Wellesley said, “We are thrilled to welcome the local community to the opening of
Wellesley Woodlands, which we hope will be a much-loved part of the local area for families and lovers of the great outdoors.”
The Wellesley Woodlands Festival will run from 12-4pm on Saturday, 14 November and the organisers are encouraging everyone to come along and discover the woodlands for the first time, whilst enjoying hot drinks, hot food and scrumptious bites from the food stalls. Woodland walks are scheduled regularly from 12.15pm, the unveiling of the highly anticipated woodland sculptures will take place at 2pm with a falconry display at 2.30pm.
Further details are at www.wellesleywoodlands.co.uk/news-detail.html?NID=1000151
“We are delighted to be taking on the long term management of Wellesley Woodlands. Working in partnership with Grainger has ensured these wonderful green spaces are unlocked"