Agenda item

Area Board Theme - Conservation

Feedback from Hazel Hill Wood on the outcomes of their Area Board funded project, and work in relation to our themes.


Area Board to set aside £1000 to address projects arising as part of the conservation theme.







The General Manager of Hazel Hill Wood (HHW), Marcos Frangos gave feedback on the outcomes of their Area Board funded project, and work in relation to the Board themes.


The wood was in a quiet location, 7 miles from Salisbury, with easy access by public transport. The facilities included:


·       A Roundhouse - A unique outdoor-indoor space with an earth floor and 2 fireplaces. A great space for story, song and dance, learning and woodland crafts

·       The Oakhouse – A main building with the capacity for up to 30 people, with bedrooms and sleeping lofts for 20 people, including a kitchen, dining area, showers & sauna.

·       The Forest Ark – A completely off-grid facility with full wheelchair access. Oak framed with a cob core for thermal mass, constructed with timber from the wood by craftsmen and volunteers.


Conservation forestry and educational programmes were started here in 1992. Since 2015, a new registered charity, Hazel Hill Trust took on the ownership and now operates the wood. The key aims of the Trust were:


·       Create a diverse, sustainable and productive woodland

·       Pioneer new educational approaches connecting people and nature

·       Deliver resilience and wellbeing skills

·       Low-impact living and technologies


Funding from the Area Board in 2015 had enabled the Trust to purchase:


·       Safety equipment

·       Conservation tools: from secateurs to sledge hammers

·       Workshop education materials

·       4 wheel heavy-duty manual truck

·       Refurbishing tools shed this summer to keep tools clean & safe!


A pilot Transformative Learning in Nature scheme running from September 2015 – June 2016 had included the following participants:


  • Winterslow Primary School
  • Pitton Primary School
  • Young Carers, Youth Action Wiltshire
  • Pitton & Farley Guides and Brownies
  • Alzheimer's Society
  • Old Sarum Youth Club



Young Carers and Youth Groups also access the facility and groups were managed by Youth Action Wiltshire. With 9 young carers aged from 5-12, with 4 support staff, all staying overnight for a residential course.


The Board then heard from Martin who was a volunteer coordinator of a men’s group at the Alzheimers Society. The men’s group had formed a connection with HHW and had been able to visit the facility twice in the previous year.


Martin explained that the environment at the wood was another world, it was a calming place where the men were able to sit and experience the surroundings and stimulate their emotions. On their first visit photographic sessions in the wood enabled the group to go back and form a display of their activities.


The second visit involved conservation work with planning of holly trees, using the safety equipment bought with the grant from the Board. This was followed by a BBQ where the men were able to sit and discuss the things which had stimulated them.


The Chairman explained that at the end of the last municipal year, Conservation had been voted in as a Theme for 2016/17. The Board had met with HHW to discuss how the theme could be taken forward. It was suggested that HHW would be a partner of the Board, providing their expertise in assisting parishes to target and look at practical conservation projects.


Any parishes interested in this should speak to Tom or Marcos.


The Area Board considered the recommendation to set aside £1,000 of funds to address projects arising as part of the Area Board Conservation Theme.



The Southern Wiltshire Area Board awarded £1,000 to the Conservation Theme Budget for 2016/17.