Here is a link to what they are proposing : http://www.testvalley.gov.uk/resident/planningandbuildingcontrol/planningpolicy/local-development-framework/draft-green-infrastructure/
My Summary - Take over Lordswood, Hut Wood, Nightingale Wood and Home Wood to create a big managed park. Good idea. Each woodland will have its own management plan with access to all. Good idea. They will encourage riders, walkers, families etc. Good idea.
My Idea - Reduce contention between different types of users by focussing different woods on different groups - Lordswood to be the main Activity Focussed wood.
What I want from you If you think what I describe (at length) below is a good idea please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org saying you support the idea of Lordswood being an Activity Focussed Woodland as outlined by Nick Clark. BEFORE MARCH 10th so today please
What I have proposed What I emailed the committee
Regarding the Forest Park Framework
I would like to propose the management of Lordswood as an activity based woodland within the Forest Park Framework.
There are a number of compelling reasons for Lordswood to become an activity focussed woodland that I shall detail below. Key to all proposals is ensuring they match the stated objectives of the Forest Park Framework. This proposal is based on light touch management returning a disproportionate level of benefit and value. I will first to explain why Lordswood, out of all of the possible locations, should be chosen as the activity based woodlands and indeed why an activity based woodland is required.
Why and Activity Based Woodland and Why Lordswood?
The Forest Park Framework suggests that the proposed park should cater for the whole spectrum of possible users. I whole heartedly endorse this and believe all woods should be open to all people. There are however the practicalities of what different people want from their visits to the Forest Park. There are lots of possibilities for conflict between different user groups but these can be managed by focussing different areas for different interests. Anyone can go anywhere but you create different areas that appeal more to different groups. This way all possible conflicts are reduced and each area is best suited to their wants and needs. Areas for ecological conservation, family groups with dogs and horse or bike riders are best established in separate areas.
Having established that runners, horse riders, orienteerers and mountain bikers require a different woodland management strategy to that for families with children and dogs or plant and bird watchers it is necessary to consider which woodland is best suited. At this point I must profess that you will have probably seen more detail on most of the woods than I have. I know that Hut wood offers nice family walking and that Lordswood has an established network of bike and active walking trails. I suspect that Nightingale Wood and Home wood have far more established and less disturbed ecosystems. From this understanding I would suggest that Hut Wood is focussed on families and dog walkers with Nightingale Wood and Home Wood are focussed on ecology.
Lordswood has a number of key features that can be considered either benefits or problems depending on the perspective. There is steep terrain making walking and riding difficult or fun depending on your perspective. There are boggy and difficult areas which are problems or challenges depending on your perspective. There is constant noise pollution from the motorway which has little benefit but is less of a problem to people involved in active pursuits than those looking for tranquillity with their dogs and families. The final point I would like to raise at the moment is the ongoing vandalism and intrusion from motorbikes and stolen mopeds. There are no benefits from these but it may be possible to manage these into designated areas where they cause the minimum disruption if we cannot remove the issue completely.
What is the Proposal?
Lordswood Activity Based Woodland - We welcome all - Put more in and get more out!
A Skeleton, Arteries and Veins - Right management at the right level
• There are the existing fire roads within Lordswood. These are required for the Forestry activities which will not be disturbed. They will form the skeleton of routes through the woodlands and also provide the best surfaced trails for casual and family cycling groups.
• Beneath these in terms of capacity and condition are the arterial pathways that are wide enough for horses to ride along, two cyclists in parallel or a group of runners.
• Beneath that are the veins of single track routes that can only take one person or bike at a time.
The fire roads are currently maintained by the Forestry Commission to allow proper woodland management. The Arteries are partially maintained but could be improved. The vein routes need no maintenance or management as they evolve and change over time through normal use.
Having established the relative status of the paths through the woodlands we need to consider what to do with the facility. I have discussed this with a number of different groups and there is great excitement at the possibilities. The key finding I have made are that most people want as few changes as possible. There is a general dislike of the motorbikes and mopeds and level of general vandalism which is not surprising.
The positive feedback was that mountain bikers would like to be allowed to continue to develop some of their own trails (vein trails), walkers would like some better drainage on the pathways (arteries), horse riders would like less dogs running free, orienteerers would like special markers to find.
The requirements are, therefore, better drainage put into a few trails and a number of orienteering markers. This is a slight understatement but a good starting point from which to begin our discussions.
I have sent this to you and other councillors for review and discussion. I will be socialising the concept with a number of other groups who may be interested so there may be further correspondence you receive. I hope you will take the weight of feeling into account at future discussions. I am happy for you to contact me either regarding this communication or as a Subject Matter Expert.