Botesdale and Rickinghall Community Woodland Project

The Story of Barwoods

In the spring of 2006 Claire Appleby posted a notice in the Village magazine inviting people to a meeting to be held in June. The meeting would discuss an idea to form a Community Woodland Group

Barwoods was set up with encouragement and help from the Green Light Trust and, having no land at the time, we liaised with St Botolph’s Primary School where we created a tree nursery bed and planted an oak tree. Since then, visits have been made in the autumn term to encourage the youngest children to recognize tree leaves and look for seeds to plant, which in due course will be transplanted in a community space.

In Rickinghall our first project was Low Meadow, a triangular piece of land gifted to the Parish Council at the western end of the village, where a footpath leaves the Bury Road. Ten standard trees were put in alongside the hedge and footpath, and four dozen native shrubs and a short length of hedge were planted opposite. Alongside the ditch that forms the third side there are weeping willows that are pollarded in rotation and a black poplar was donated and planted there. The central area is cut and raked to encourage wildflowers to return and there were already two seats and a memorial tree.

 Also in Rickinghall we are planting a new wood next to the village allotments. Already well over 200 trees have gone in and a hedge on two sides. The trees are almost entirely native species and that includes a ring of apple trees that are local to this area as well as a medlar and a quince. Northfield Wood is named after the field it stands on (there is a Southfield on the other side of the Street). We have been given two benches by the Parish Council and already the community has planted memorial trees.

In Botesdale we were given a small wood that has been named Miller’s Orchard as it contains a great variety of fruit trees and the site is thought to have been that of a windmill. It was rather overgrown so we have been opening it up gradually. A well-used footpath runs through it. The fruit trees were surveyed by Paul Read in 2007 and 2008: varieties of apple, gage, bullace, plum, cherry plum, hazel, walnut and blackberry.