New management team for Holyford Nature Reserve
PUBLISHED: 07:01 09 January 2020
A new partnership has been formed to manage Holyford Woods Local Nature Reserve, near Colyton.
East Devon District Council's (EDDC) countryside team has joined forces with the Axe Vale and District Conservation Society (AVDCS), to look after the important wildlife site.
The move follows the dissolution of the long-standing Holyford Woodland Trust (HWT) which was set up in 2001.
While the biodiversity of the woodland went from strength to strength, with a record number of rare dormice being recorded in 2018, the Trust struggled to attract and retain active membership and so the decision to pursue other management options was made in November 2018.
Residual funds raised by the trust were transferred to the AVDCS at the end of 2019 and future management, maintenance and enhancement of the woodland will now be carried out by the conservation group in partnership with EDDC.
Fran Sinclair, chairman of AVDCS, said: "It was a natural move to step in and work in partnership with the council's countryside team - Wild East Devon - to ensure this special place keeps improving for people and nature over the years to come."
Cllr Geoff Jung, EDDC environment spokesman, said: "Thanks to everyone involved in Holyford Woodland Trust, which achieved a huge amount - including felling a large area of conifer to allow for natural regeneration of the broadleaf woodland, fencing the woods from neighbouring livestock and hosting and promoting the annual Bluebell Day for people to visit and enjoy one of the best bluebell displays in Devon while enjoying a cream tea.
"Looking ahead we hope to work closely with the Axe Vale and District Conservation Society to encourage more practical volunteering within the woods, as there is plenty to do each winter to keep the nature reserve at its best.
"Woodland work is some of the best and most enjoyable exercise you can imagine. We hope to explore ways to get more young people and school groups engaged with this fantastic local woodland, to instil its importance with the younger local community."
Practical winter work parties will take place throughout the next few months, with more information available online at wildeastdevon.co.uk
The new management team says that next Spring's Bluebell Day will be 're-imagined' to help people enjoy the annual display of stunning bluebells at their prime.