TWO environmental groups have approached South Marston Parish Council with offers to collaborate on the futures of St Julian’s Woodland and Nightingale Woods.
The former, which is at the back of St Julian’s Close in the village, on the border of the Honda site, is owned and managed by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.
The trust would like to pass on the woodland to a community group or the parish council itself.
The Forestry Commission, on the other hand, wants to work with the parish council to make more of Nightingale Woods, at the end of Nightingale Lane.
The commission is looking for ideas on how to improve the woodland walking experience.
Suggestions to date include creating a wildflower meadow, opening up a wetland area and adding one or two open glades inside the woodland.
Barry Thunder, a member of the parish council and a lead for the environmental working group in the village, said: “We approached them about a year ago, as we were concerned it was becoming a dark place.
“It has been established for 20 years and all the canopy is grown together now. There is no light coming through.
“There is an opportunity there for a lot of people to use that facility, both residents and non-residents.
“What we would like to create, is like a wildflower meadow. We could attract some people to come in there we can’t currently attract.
“My hope is, over the next year or so, we could attract them to the woods and train them up with various projects.
“There is a lot that can be done in there. We might like to create some glades for people to visit for some quiet time on their own.
“We would like to get things established in there before these 1,500 new houses arrive. We need to make the woods robust enough to cope with the extra demand, when it comes.”
Meetings with the Forestry Commission have been held, with more to come, though not before a meeting with the Wilflife Trust which will decide how things move forward at St Julian’s.
“They would like to pass it on to a village organisation of some kind in the next 12 months,” said Barry.
“It will come, probably, to the parish council if they’re prepared to take on responsibility.
“The trouble is grass needs maintaining. Anything that grows needs maintaining and that comes with costs and responsibility.
“It’s a big ask. There is money to come with it. Even if that’s £15,000, it’s not going to last forever.
“A community group can raise grants more easily than a parish council will for such a thing.”
To find out more contact Barry at firstname.lastname@example.org