Manningham Woods

Manningham Wood

Manningham Wood is located to the northern sector of the Village of Illogan, adjacent to Robartes Terrace and otherwise is surrounded by residential dwelling.

Manningham Wood is leased by Illogan Parish Council from two landowners.  There is public access to Manningham Wood all of the time.  There are designated paths through the wood.  The paths are regularly used by parents and children on their way to and from Illogan School and also by dog walkers and leisure walkers.  There are benches, information signs that form part of a nature trail and carvings located around the wood.

The site is predominantly level and generally free draining with small localised damp areas. There are no streams or ponds.  The site is bounded by low Cornish hedges, stone walls, green hedging and a low embankment.  This is mature plantation woodland originally planted as an amenity for the owners of Manningham House in the 1700’s.  The woodland contains a well-established high canopy, which provides for a shaded environment below, there are a number of areas of thin canopy, which are relatively open and light.  The species present include native and non-native broad leaved deciduous trees and shrubs.  The woodland was originally a semi-natural plantation as evidenced by the presence of non-native exotic species.

Access

There is disabled access at the main entrance to the woodland which is wheelchair-friendly throughout.  Now that the path connecting the woodland to the churchyard is complete, disabled users can leave from a different exit rather than having to complete a circular route back to the main entrance.

The compacted paths enable parents with children in buggies and older people with shopping trollies to travel to and from the school and shops.

History

Manningham Community Woodland was created in 2004 from an area of derelict land that had been hidden behind locked and rusting gates for decades after Manningham House, to which the land belonged, fell into disuse.

With the help of funding from the National Lottery Fund, and under the stewardship of Illogan Parish Council, it was cleared of brambles, bracken, sycamore, laurel, rhododendron and some fly-tipped rubbish; new paths were laid and areas cleared of dangerous trees for future public use.

It was officially opened in October 2004, by Lady Mary Holborrow, as a Community Doorstep Green, under the vision:

“A woodland for all, accessible by everyone – nature on our doorstep.”

Ownership & Maintenance

Illogan Parish Council leases and is responsible for the maintenance of the site, with the assistance of a group of volunteers called The Friends of Manningham Wood.  The maintenance and development of the site is completed and funded by the Parish Council.

The site is open 24hrs a day, with a RADAR Key gate at the main entrance, and people from the village use it as a route from one side of the village to the other, between the church and school in the north and the shops in the centre of the village.  The wood is enjoyed by everyone including parents with children, dog-walkers and for use as a nicer alternative to the main road through the centre of the village.  The school and pre-school group use the wood as an outdoor classroom and the cubs and scouts use the wood to complete some of their community-based badges.

Sustainability

The woodland is managed to ensure that the native trees and understory plants take precedence over exotic species left over from when the woods were part of Manningham House’s ornamental gardens.

The woodland is criss-crossed with surfaced paths to enable access for all, including wheelchair-users and parents with prams and pushchairs.  Dense vegetation is maintained outside a 1m strip either side of the paths to discourage people from leaving the paths and damaging the fragile habitats provided by plants such as native bluebell and the decaying woodpiles left throughout the woodland for small mammals and invertebrates.

Community Involvement

The community has been involved since the beginning when they were consulted on the design and layout of the woodland.  They have participated in community events, activities such as tree and bulb planting, litter-picking, bracken-bashing, willow-planting, nature walks, environmental art competitions and general maintenance such as path clearing.

Sense of Place

Before the Community Woodland was created, the area was a wilderness, hidden behind locked and rusting gates.

In 2007 the Community Woodland was joined to the Churchyard with a new path, and the whole village came out to celebrate its opening which was marked at the village Feast Day.  This path has now opened up the village and enabled people to travel from one side to the other along a safer and more pleasant route than they had before.

Design and Materials Used

The Woodland is designed to be used by all in the community and has a disabled access gate at the main entrance and wheelchair-friendly paths throughout.  The surfaces of the paths are compacted natural aggregate and the seats and nature sculptures along these paths are made from locally sourced wood, by a local artist.

Wildlife & Biodiversity

The biodiversity of the woodland is maintained by the planting of native trees and bulbs and the replacement of felled trees with saplings and nest boxes.

The woodland is managed with wildlife in mind.  All felled wood remains within the woodland in piles or as logs or slices to provide shelter for small mammals and reptiles as well as food for invertebrates.  These, in turn, feed the mammals and small birds found throughout the site.

Hazel and Hawthorn have been planted to increase the autumn food sources for the wildlife.  No chemicals are used within the woodland to ensure that fungi and invertebrates also thrive.

Climate Change

The woodland is being used as a route to walk to school instead of children being driven through the village in carbon-emitting vehicles.  The canopy is constantly replenished with new trees to absorb carbon dioxide to help decrease the carbon footprint of the village.

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