Ten years ago, Jim Grogan discovered that there is an award for well-run community woodlands and he thought it would be a good idea if our woodland applied. He was successful and we have been successful every year since then. This is an award that the whole community should be proud of and share.
The Woodland has been funded by the community via the Annual Plant Sale, the Parish Council and the CWaC councillors as well as by other hard won grants. It has been managed and maintained by a dedicated band of Trustees and Volunteers led by Stuart Exell, who took over after Jim's death. Most importantly it has been, and continues to be, used by the Community – old, young, the School and increasingly by visitors from the surrounding area who have heard of its reputation. It has become a much-loved village asset that helps people to keep active, enjoy and learn about wild life and have social contact. Jim would be proud.
We have come to expect this annual award but it is certainly not awarded automatically. A judge comes round with a detailed pro forma that looks at many different aspects in a strict manner. For example, we were criticised for years about signage; in particular because we didn't fly a flag and they like people to know that a woodland has a green flag. We sorted that by putting a sign incorporating our logo and the green flag logo at all eight entrance points to the woodland.
In addition, we now have three noticeboards (new one in Saxon Heath) to keep the community informed about what we are doing and there are A4 sized notices to explain various plants, trees and birds. Two explanatory signs funded by the George Heath Foundation provide information about the history and future intentions of the Trust. The paths and drainage have been vastly improved and, although it is not part of the woodland, we maintain the horse track for the village.
They look for good communication with the community and we maintain that by hand-delivering a Newsletter twice a year, update the noticeboards monthly, contribute to the two church magazines and have a web site that holds the history of the woodland over the last decade. A loyal team of volunteers does the maintenance and all the background administration. The annual Apple Pressing, Plant Sale, Coffee Morning and attendance at the Fete are all events that help to keep the woodland at the heart of village life.
Stuart Exell, chairman of the Trust said: "We are absolutely delighted to receive a Green Flag Award for the tenth consecutive year. We know how much the woodland matters to residents and visitors, and this award celebrates the dedication that goes into maintaining our woodland to such a high standard. Over the last decade the woodland has developed from a piece of Highways land, created as a sound barrier when the bypass was built, into maturing woodland that has since been extended as part of the Saxon Heath housing development.
The woodland has become a significant part of life in Tarvin with the School collaboration and programme of annual events. The woodland is now owned, funded and maintained by the community, so I am proud to say that this award is for the whole community, which is proud to receive it. Thank you, Tarvin"