This week, volunteers from the Maulden-based Community Tree Trust, were invited to Center Parcs Woburn Forest to collect alder saplings. The alders being collected had grown as a result of the Center Parcs rangers' work clearing areas to allow ground flora to develop over the past three years.
Through Center Parcs forest management programme, a wider variety of native species have been planted but there have also been lots of native species organically growing as a result of the work.
More than 2,000 saplings are being collected and taken to a nearby nursery then sold to organisations and residents in the local area, raising much-needed funds for the charity in the process. Many of the trees collected from Center Parcs are expected to be sold to the Forest of Marston Vale for future regeneration projects.
Liz Millbank, Center Parcs Senior Estate Ranger said:
“The Community Tree Trust were so excited to see so many trees and shrubs re-seeding at our forest and now we are at the stage where we are getting too many, we were pleased to be able to donate them to give them the best chance of flourishing in the local area. The idea grew organically and we hope to continue to work with this fantastic charity for a very long time.”
Colin Carpenter, Community Tree Trust Project Manager said:
“Making use of local seedlings and educating the local community about these species is key. Essentially, we are using seedlings from an area which are obviously benefitting from attention from Center Parcs and giving them space to grow elsewhere so they aren’t competing for space. Working with organisations like Center Parcs help our charity to continue and means we can continue protecting and promoting native plant species year after year.”
The Community Tree Trust started in 1996 and is passionate about native plant species. The organisation is largely made up of volunteers from the local area with a shared belief that local flora should be used for natural generation. The organisation collects trees, shrubs, flowers and ground flora which are then sold to the local area. As well as collecting, the organisation also works with schools to educate children and works alongside farmers with stewardship planting.
Center Parcs Woburn Forest opened in 2014 but work protecting the forest and the opening up of the woodland to allow species to thrive began long before opening to guests. In 2008, the woodland underwent ecological assessment and in 2013, the company started building the ranger team for the site. Prior to the Village being built the forest was a commercial woodland (with timber cut down for sale) and ecological surveys were undertaken to establish what biodiversity was there already so that these could be protected and more species could be encouraged into the area.
The opening up of the forest has allowed it to become a thriving environment for local flora and fauna to flourish. The forest has already been transformed with a larger number of broadleaf species re-seeding and an increase in the number of fauna species seen on site. This important biodiversity work will continue into the future for many years to come.
Notes to Editors
- Center Parcs has five Villages across the UK; Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, Elveden Forest in Suffolk, Longleat Forest in Wiltshire, Whinfell Forest in Cumbria and Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire which opened to guests on 6 June 2014
- As the leader in the UK short break holiday market, Center Parcs regularly achieves average annual occupancy in excess of 97%
- Center Parcs offers weekend, (Friday to Monday) or midweek (Monday to Friday) breaks and welcomes over 2 million guests each year, with 96% of guests expressing an intention to return
- The Center Parcs concept is to provide a range of high quality accommodation, shops, restaurants and exceptional leisure facilities, carefully nestled amongst 400 acres of protected forest environment
- This concept originated in Holland in 1967, with the first UK Center Parcs opening in 1987. Center Parcs is now a separate entity in the UK
- Center Parcs has been awarded the following accolades since 2008: the Green Business Award for Biodiversity Protection, Visit Britain 5 Star Rating, Hospitality Assured, Biodiversity Benchmark - Land Management, Carbon Trust Standard, Good Spa Guide Award, ISO14001, Investors in People
- Center Parcs has recently been announced ‘Best Family Holiday Provider’ in the Tommy’s Awards for the eleventh year in a row