Last year I decided that I needed some focus (excuse the pun) to my photography. I thought I’d try something that I’ve been planning for some time – a project which covers a geographic area over a complete year. But, where? Then, inspiration came to me – I tramp though this wood about 3 times every single day, and have been doing this for 30+ years. I see how it changes with each changing season – but I don’t stop and look at the detail. I race through – to be fair, normally on the end of a lead with a dog enthusiastically wanting to get on her walk. So, that was decided. I’d concentrate on our local woodland.
The woodland was originally owned by Brahan Estate. However, it was sold and houses were built on part of the site, with the remainder left as native woodland. After a couple of company changeovers the woodland was left with virtually no management for over 30 years. At some point, the whole of the remaining woodland became subject to a Tree Preservation Order. Then, completely out of the blue, two men appeared one day and hammered a sign into the ground. The woodland was to be sold – at auction.
Not only was the woodland to be sold – it was to be sold within 4 weeks! For a small community keeping our woodland seemed like a near impossible task within the timescale – how on earth could we raise the money, what if someone outbid us, what hoops would we need to jump through to raise funding, could public bodies prove themselves flexible enough to meet the timescale? The community and local public bodies made a colossal effort to try to ensure that the woodland was going to be saved for the local community. On 18 November 2022, 5 days before the auction date, the community made the best announcement they could ever make – the community had successfully purchased the woodland. Hats off to all concerned – they really achieved the impossible. Now, the community can identify our collective priorities, how we want the woodland used and most importantly it will be available for future generations to enjoy.
This has now given a totally different slant to my project. I’ll be able to track all the changes that will be made in the woodland, even if that’s only making it a safer environment in which to walk. I look forward to sharing these in this blog.
This blog was originally published on: 1 April 2023