RESIDENTS are being invited to have their say on a range of possible improvements at Manor Road Community Woodland in Keynsham.
The green space to the east of the town, near Saltford, is a popular and well-used haven between the two communities and is designated as a local nature reserve on green-belt land.
Bath & North East Somerset Council manages the woodland with support from the Friends of Manor Road Community Woodland to conserve its woodland, meadow and water environments, which are home to diverse wildlife and plant species.
New housing developments in and around Keynsham are likely to increase the number of people who use the woodland, so the council plans to fund improvements to ensure the space benefits the community and protects resident wildlife for the future.
The improvement works will be funded by Section 106 payments which councils receive from developers to improve local amenities for new and existing residents.
The proposals include:
Improvements to gates and entrances and resurfaced pathways to improve safety and increase accessibility.
- Footpath signage and boundary marking to make wayfinding easier.
- New seating to provide more places to rest and relax in the woodland.
- A small car park for visitors with mobility needs and to encourage visitors from further away.
- New natural play facilities such as wobble beams, den-building and rope swings.
- A new pond and improvements to the existing pond, with features to encourage wildlife such as log piles, bug hotels and bird and bat nesting boxes.
Residents are asked to have their say in the consultation to help determine how the Section 106 funding will be spent.
Feedback received will also help inform a new management plan for the woodland.
The consultation open is already under way and runs until Friday July 14. Go to bathnes.gov.uk and search for ‘Manor Road Community Woodland’.
The Friends of Manor Road Community Woodland say they are delighted that money has become available to spend on the woodland.
A spokesperson said: “Our group works hard to maintain this beautiful natural space but there are structural tasks that would benefit from investment.
“The paths around the woodland can get very muddy in winter and this is something we would be particularly keen to see addressed, as well as improving accessibility for wheelchair users.
“The maintenance of gates, wooden walkways and dry stone walling could be considered, and the pond area is also in need of some work. If you pay it a visit right now you will find it full of life, but over the past few years it has become quite silted up and struggles to hold onto any water over the hot summer months.
“We hope that those of you who use the woodland will share your thoughts and ideas as part of the consultation, and help to ensure a positive future for this special community space.”
The history of Manor Road Community Woodland includes more than 19,000 trees and shrubs having been planted on the 21-hectare site since 1993, with grant aid from the Forestry Commission.
A wildflower meadow was planted in 2005 and a pond provides feeding and breeding sites for local wildlife.
A number of agencies and organisations have helped to finance maintenance and improvement work in the woodland in previous years, including B&NES Council, the Countryside Agency, Forest of Avon, Avon Valley Partnership, Keynsham Town Council and the Woodland Trust.
Meanwhile, the Friends of Manor Road Community Woodland welcome new members. They work in the woodland on the last Sunday of the month.
Their next sessions are on June 25 and July 30, when the volunteers will meet at 9.30am by the first gate into the Top Woods, on Manor Road coming from Keynsham (BS31 1SF).
Anyone interested can get in touch via the Friends of Manor Road Community Woodland page on Facebook.
Photo by Manor Road Community Woodland Friends group