Community Green Spaces

This resume has been written by QE member Sam Westmacott, who also managed to have it published in both the Free Press and the County Gazette on our behalf. 

On Friday 17 February 2023 ex-diplomat Roy Osborne introduced us to the Stowey Green Spaces Group, a small community organization which leads the way in community response to Climate Change. 

The power of communities to positively impact on climate change was the focus of a talk Roy Osborne, gave to Quantock Eco.  As the chair of Stowey Green Spaces Group, he described how Stowey Woods, a forgotten mess of woodland behind Nether Stowey, has been transformed.

It was a wild tangle of ancient woodland with oaks, ashes, silver birch and chestnuts until 1970 when the Forestry Commission cleared part of it.  The Sitka Spruce and Scots pines they planted blocked out the light so nothing grew, and the wildlife moved out.  It became a dark unfriendly place.

For the Millennium the group planned to plant a small new wood to celebrate and nurture the environment at Stowey Rocks Farm.  The children grew seeds at school and just under half a hectare was planted with their saplings.

Terry Abbiss and others created a second small wood with the help of Roy Osborne. The new wood was planted between the new Millennium and Stowey Woods to celebrate the Queens Diamond Jubilee. These new woods encouraged Nether Stowey to consider the state of Stowey Woods and evolve a management plan.

As the land was owned by Somerset County Council, Nether Stowey needed permission before doing anything.  The Council responded positively. Under Roy’s leadership, the community applied for permission, started looking for funding, and the men and horsepower they needed for the major task of revitalising the wood.

Bridgwater College students began the massive job of cutting down the Sitka and pine which was sold for around £1000.  Kate Mobbs Morgan brought her Ardennes draught horses and a Shire Horse down from Monmouthshire to do the haulage. Volunteer groups from all over Sedgmoor responded to Nether Stowey’s requests for help.  Since 2015 over a hundred of volunteers have formed working parties to clear away brambles, brash and gradually plant native trees. 

They also dammed a stream running through the woods to slow it down so pools formed, where frogs are now spawning.  Flowers began to carpet the woodland floor again. Wild life returned. Foxes, rabbits, badgers and roe deer are seen there regularly.  Last summer the woods were full of birds and butterflies fussing around the massing wild flowers.

The three woods are connected by a circular path which offers dog owners, bird watchers and walkers about an hour long walk.  A well-kept public footpath from the village leads to the edge of the Millennium Woods, where the walk begins.

Stowey Green Spaces is licensed by Somerset County Council to manage the woods.  Roy Osborne stressed regular working parties are needed when he was thanked by Ian Myers, Trustee and co chairman of Quantock Eco.

If you would like more information contact,uk or call 01278 732311. 

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