The Trust and its aims
In January 2008 we became a Charitable Trust that must apply its funds in furthering the following object:
“To conserve, restore and re-establish native trees, plants and all types of wildlife by provision of a community woodland area in Tarvin for the benefit of the public at large and with a view to improving the quality of life.”
To this end the Woodland Trust has a plan to support, protect and celebrate the natural habitats in our local community. This will enable the already created area to be properly maintained and, more importantly, to be improved and developed further. The Trust manages a 13 acre / 5 hectare piece of land which is about 1 kilometre long i.e. long and narrow. It was left as screened open space after construction of the Tarvin south-western bypass in 1987 and sits between the road and existing housing (and the school, which has direct access via a gate). A bridleway runs along the “road” boundary.
In 1997, after four years of negotiation with the Highways Agency, a licence to use the land as a public amenity was granted to Tarvin Parish Council. A sub-committee was appointed by the parish council to create the woodland amenity at no cost to the council. The sub-committee planted the first commemorative trees on 11th November 1997 to commemorate those who lost their lives in World Wars I and II from within the village. Many families, individuals and organisations in the village have since planted several hundred more commemorative oak and other native hardwood trees. Working with guidance from the Forestry Commission, the (now closed down) National Wildflower Centre at Knowsley and the (now closed down) Cheshire Landscape Trust, the Tarvin Community Woodland Trust has managed, and will continue to manage, a long-term environmental scheme that will further develop the area into a natural open woodland consisting of only native flora and fauna. All work is done on a voluntary basis. The core group has developed, managed and maintained the area with the assistance of forty or more others including the local youth club and the Trust for Conservation Volunteers (TCV). All this was the vision of the late Jim Grogan who had foreseen that the strip of land could have had houses built on it. Jim also had a long-term vision that one day the woodland might stretch from the A54 / A51 roundabout to Austin’s Hill at the southerly extreme of the village.
In June 2009 Cheshire West and Chester (the highway authority and current landowner) and the Trust signed a 125 year lease for a peppercorn rent. Over 100 members of the community were present to celebrate when the 125 year lease from Cheshire West and Chester Council was formally presented to the Trust on Saturday, September, 12th by Councillor Neil Ritchie, Environment Portfolio Holder and Deputy Lord Mayor of Chester. He also unveiled one of the recently installed finger posts now that the footpath is a statutory rights of way. Present from other organisations were several people who had enabled and assisted the project over the last twelve years. Cllr Ritchie also presented a contribution towards a long-term project; the removal of non-native trees and their replacement with native species.
In 2015 Taylor Wimpey proposed building a housing estate adjacent to the by-pass between Broomheath Lane and Austin’s Hill. The Trust worked successfully with Taylor Wimpey, local planners and landowners to achieve a project that met everyone’s requirements; a housing development that has the benefit of a woodland strip along the by-pass, linking to the existing woodland
In 2016, the Trust became a not-for-profit “company limited by guarantee” and took ownership, for a nominal sum, of both the freeholds from Cheshire West and Chester Council and Taylor Wimpey. The enlarged woodland now belongs to the community and the articles of the company, a registered charity, are written to make any land sale subject to 100% agreement by the membership.
It is now a very well used public amenity with a central footpath running through open woodland, meadow and wildflower areas. This is an amenity created and used by the community with full access for people with disability.