South West Forest funding secured

The South West Forest Project has secured over £½ million of funds from a combination of Objective One (EU/DEFRA) and the England Rural Development Programme (DEFRA). This will allow continuation of its successful work to date, as well enable the initiative to develop new programmes to further help farmers pursue opportunities centred on woodland management and wood utilisation as well as those based on creating new woodlands. When combined with other funding contributions from partners (most notably Forestry Commission, Countryside Agency, Devon and Cornwall County Councils, North Devon, Torridge and West Devon District Councils), the funding security of the project is assured for the next 3 years.

Commenting on this funding success, Clive Thomas, Project Director of South West Forest said: “This is a significant milestone for the project. South West Forest has a proven track record over the last 5 years in helping to create additional woodland based opportunities for those farmers restructuring their land, businesses and livelihoods. This has been achieved through a combination of:- grant leverage for woodland creation from FC/DEFRA (approx. £1.5 million per annum direct to farmers and landowners); independent and objective advice; and high quality and affordable training.

South West Forest is a local authority hosted partnership, chaired independently by Professor Ian Mercer CBE., Professor Mercer, who recently chaired the Devon FMD Inquiry, has long been an advocate of the contribution to rural recovery and regeneration that the South West Forest initiative can make across the 300,000 ha. of North Devon and North Cornwall that the project covers. When the position of Chairman became vacant in April 2002, he was delighted to accept the appointment.

Since 1998 the project has advised more than 500 farmers/landowners and organised over 150 training courses. More than 2000 ha. of new woodland has been planted on more than 200 individual landholdings.

The Project, along with the many and varied aspects of woodlands in the region will be showcased at the forthcoming South West Forest Woodfair. This traditional one day Woodfair will feature nearly 100 exhibitors and demonstrators covering wood products and services and the multi-purpose nature of woodlands, especially when integrated with other farm activities. The event will be held in the picturesque setting of Roadford Lake, near Okehampton, on Saturday 13 July 2002.”


Editors notes:

The South West Forest Woodfair will take place on Saturday 13 July 2002 at Roadford Lake, just north of the A30 between Okehampton and Launceston.

South West Forest is a partnership organisation that has been described in the Government’s Rural White Paper as a “pioneering a new approach to integrated rural development”. It offers advice, assistance and training to farmers and others in the countryside and offers a Rural Resource Centre.

For further information on the Woodfair, please contact Countryside Training Ltd at The Old Bakery, St Anne’s Well Mews, Lower North Street, Exeter EX4 3ET. Tel. No: 01392 218181. Fax. No: 01392 218182. email: office@countrysidetraininguk.com

For further information on the South West Forest initiative itself, please contact Clive Thomas at South West Forest, Cookworthy Moor, Beaworthy, Devon EX21 5UX. Tel. No: 01409 221896. Fax. No: 01409 221269. email: swforest@devon.gov.uk or csthomas@devon.gov.uk.


Jason Clark
Communications Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel:01872 241379
Fax:01872 241388