Dane Valley Woodlands
What is the project?
The Dane Valley Woodland project seeks to increase understanding of the woodland resource amongst all sectors of the local community including the threats to its future and the conservation opportunities. Through this greater understanding the project aims to achieve sustainable woodland management. The project includes opportunities for local people and volunteer involvement in wildlife survey and monitoring, in historical research and data collection, in practical conservation management connected to the woodlands and in the development of appropriate interpretation. This sits alongside developing and implementing innovative management plans for the woodlands.
More information on the history of the woodlands in the Dane Valley.
More information on the project and its aims.
Where is it?
The Dane Valley is situated on the border between Cheshire and Staffordshire, mostly inside the National Park.
What is the purpose?
- To increase understanding of the importance of woodlands in the Dane Valley and the issues surrounding their conservation amongst conservation organizations, landowners, organizations and individuals with shooting rights, local people and visitors to the National Park.
- To secure favourable management of the woodlands largely through the negotiation of Environmental Stewardship and England Woodland Grant Scheme agreements.
- To involve local people particularly school children in the management of the woods.
Which habitats will benefit?
Which species will benefit?
Species which will benefit include woodland birds such as spotted and pied flycatcher, common redstart and garden and willow warbler.
Who is involved?
Overall management of the project lies with the Peak District National Park Authority in consultation with a steering group including representatives from relevant organizations and the local community including landowners.
How is the project funded?
A grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund has been used to fund the awareness raising, understanding and involvement aspects of the work whilst national schemes (Environmental Stewardship and England Woodland Grant Scheme) have been used to support action on the ground. Grant from the SITA Trust has supplemented the national schemes mainly where deer fencing is necessary.
The Heritage Lottery Funded elements of the project completed in Autumn 2014 and the SITA Trust elements at the end of December 2014. Action in the woodlands will continue into the future funded through the national schemes.
What has been achieved?
- All thirty-three woodland owners in the valley have been involved.
A combination of forty-one Environmental Stewardship and England Woodland Grant Scheme agreements have been negotiated delivering the following:
- 45ha woodland creation
- 112ha woodland thinning
- 70ha woodland stock exclusion
- 10ha rhododendron control
The management of all significant areas of ancient and other semi-natural woodland has been addressed and only one significant area of plantation on an ancient woodland site remains without a positive management agreement.
- Woodland creation sites include the National Park Authority land at Danebridge (The Fall) where a concessionary footpath has been established and volunteers have been involved in tree planting and access works.
- A Deer Management Plan has been produced based on annual deer counts (using 18-24 volunteers annually), informal deer sightings and cull returns reported to the Deer Initiative. Information and advice is shared through an informal Deer Management Group. Seven deer stalkers have been grant-aided to undertake appropriate training and the Deer Initiative has delivered Deer Impact Assessment training for volunteers, local landowners and project officers.
- Local people and naturalists have been involved in bird, butterfly, bat and veteran tree surveys and in bird box monitoring. This information has been used to raise awareness amongst woodland owners and inform individual woodland management plans. Local people have also been involved in mapping and reporting the distribution of Himalayan balsam and in its control.
- Understanding and awareness raising has been facilitated through the production of a project leaflet, two open meetings, a programme of 6 walks /events and 2 talks, attendance at Wincle Fete, several articles in 'The Link' and 'Parklife', 6 press releases, the development of a nature trail at Wincle Fish Farm and the development of two interpretation panels in partnership with Wincle and Bosley schools. Citations for the relevant Cheshire Wildlife sites have been updated and records have been passed to appropriate record centres.
- Support has been given to the Food & Environment Research Agency and the Forestry Commission in their role in controlling the spread of Phytophthora ramorum, which during the course of the project became a significant issue in the valley. All outbreaks have now been addressed.
- Volunteers have been involved in practical conservation action in the valley on seventeen days, mostly tree planting activities, but also Himalayan balsam control. This is in addition to involvement at The Fall and the Fish Farm and in the development of three garden-based local tree nurseries.
- The project has supported the delivery of twenty school events including habitat activities, tree seed collection, bird box construction, woodland role play, tree planting and the development of the interpretation panels.
- A book, 'Around the Dane Valley' has been produced. This collection of memories and photographs is a celebration of the recent history of the valley and involved over thirty-five older members of the local community. Seventeen people, mostly local WI members took part in a series of art workshops celebrating and interpreting the landscape of the Dane Valley.
- The Project has promoted the positive woodland work in the valley including innovative delivery mechanisms through the Catchment Sensitive Farming project, the Peak District Woodland Biodiversity Action Plan Group and partner organisations.
How can I find out more?
- Download a colour leaflet about the Dane valley (898kb)
- Download a colour leaflet about Red Deer in the Dane Valley (184KB)
- Download posters summarising the project achievements:
- Download the interpretation panels produced as part of the project: