Planning a community project
Projects usually involve building paths and trails, putting up signage, sculptures, shelters, or carrying out some kind land management activity.
Apply to carry out a project
If you are planning a project on our land please contact us so we can discuss this with you at an early stage. Our teams will be able to make sure that the project is suitable and ask you to complete an application form.
Proposals for longer term projects are welcome from voluntary and community organisations of all types.
Your organisation must have at least a basic constitution setting out your aims, a clear management structure, transparent membership criteria, be able to demonstrate clear links with the woodland concerned and with other local organisations.
We will ask you to demonstrate in your application how your project will contribute to meeting the aims of Woodlands for Wales.
This is the Welsh Government’s 50-year strategy for the management, development and creation of woodlands in Wales. You’ll need to show how you’ll be helping to achieve one or more of its four key themes:
Responding to Climate Change
- Welsh woodlands contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of Wales.
Woodlands for People
- More communities benefit from woodlands and trees.
- More people enjoy the life-long learning benefits of woodlands and their products.
- More people live healthier lives as a result of their use and enjoyment of woodlands.
- More people benefit from woodland related enterprises.
Competitive and Integrated Forest Sector
- More Welsh grown timber is used in Wales.
- The forest sector is better integrated and more competitive, supporting the Welsh economy.
- Increased use of timber as a key renewable resource.
- A thriving, skilled workforce in the forestry sector.
- Woodland management achieves high standards of environmental stewardship.
- Woodlands and trees of special conservation value are in favourable management.
- Woodland biodiversity is supported and native woodland is in favourable management.
- Woodlands and trees make a positive contribution to the special landscape character of Wales and to sites of heritage and cultural importance.
- New and existing trees and woodland contribute to water and soil management.
If your proposal is approved, you’ll be offered either:
- A Management Agreement - a fixed term contract setting out exactly what you are permitted to do - it does not give you exclusive use of the woodland or grant a legal interest in it.
- A Lease – this does give you exclusive possession of a defined area, and would be suitable for e.g. community food projects or the construction of shelters or buildings.
You will need Public Liability Insurance cover of £5m for any activity, event or project that you undertake.
You will need to provide a risk assessment with your application. Use our interactive map to see if there are any risks that you need to consider before organising your event or activity eg. power lines, mineshafts, pipelines and quarries.
Advice and guidance is also available from the Health and Safety Executive.
We have standard charges for different types events, activities and projects on our land.
Leasing or buying Welsh Government woodlands
Your voluntary and community organisation can apply to take over full responsibility for management of a woodland to benefit local communities.
This would require a lease with exclusive occupation rights or outright purchase, and may be considered where the benefits have been demonstrated and evidenced – final decisions are made by the Welsh Government Minister responsible for the Woodland Estate.
The first step is to contact us to discuss your proposals before completing an application form.
Woodlands are leased and sold at market value and you’ll need to budget for your group’s legal costs. Leases and sales may be considered where:
- The woodland concerned is freehold;
- There is limited existing stakeholder interest in the woodland;
- The woodland is in a either a stand-alone block or on the edge of a larger block with its own access routes;
- It is clear that your plans could only be met by a lease or purchase of the woodland and that a Management Agreement or Permit would be inappropriate.
How proposals are assessed
When we receive your application form, we will check to make sure you have sent us all required supporting documentation.
If all details have been included, the proposal will then be circulated for staff to comment on and it may be necessary to discuss and agree amendments.
We’ll come back to you with an in principle decision within 12 weeks of receipt of a fully completed proposal.
If the evidence provided at this point indicates that the lease proposal is strong enough to proceed, additional information will be required, e.g. detailed business case, woodland management plan, formal valuation.
An Evaluation Panel (with both Natural Resources Wales officers and independent representatives) will consider the detailed proposals and recommend to the Welsh Government Minister responsible for the Woodland Estate whether or not a disposal should be supported.
As this part of the process is likely to be more complex, a timescale for making a decision will be discussed and agreed with you and you will be kept fully informed of progress at all times. In all cases, if we are not able to approve your proposal, we will tell you why.
Requests to use small amounts of timber as part of your project (for example, woodland management training, making small items to sell) may be considered.
All timber will be disposed of at market value. Each request will be considered on a case by case basis within the below guidelines:
- A basic, prescriptive management plan will be agreed with local Area Office staff, these must:
- contribute to delivery of the Forest Resource Plan and ‘Woodlands for Wales’ objectives
- specify the area to be worked
- provide a precise description of the work to be undertaken
- provide an estimate of the timber volumes involved.
- We will monitor and record all harvested timber and charge at the agreed rate.
When we receive your application form we’ll check all required supporting documentation. If all details have been included, the proposal will then be circulated for local Area Office staff to comment on, ensuring that we have enough information from local staff to make the right decision.
We’ll aim to come back to you with a decision within 12 weeks days of receipt of a fully completed proposal. We will be looking for confirmation that:
- You’ve provided details about yourself or your group.
- It’s clear what you want to do and where you want to do it - the proposal has been thought through and is well planned and will be managed safely.
- We know how many people will take part, whether or not they’ll be charged, what facilities will be provided and if vehicles will be taken into the woodland.
Advice and support
If your project is more complex, you will need to be a legally constituted body, undertake local consultation, ensure legal compliance etc.
We will support the development of your proposal as far as possible by offering:
- Advice and guidance on the permissions process
- Assistance with maps
- Woodland and land management best practice
- Woodlands for Wales guidance
- Information about our land and Forest Resource Plans
- Knowledge of other local groups and potential partners
- Explanation of basic risk assessment processes
- Advice on felling and planting licenses
If you need advice on how to set up your group, where potential sources of funding might be, how to reach and involve all members of your community, planning guidance etc., you’ll need to talk to people with specific expertise in these areas.
There are many expert third and public sector organisations out there to offer assistance – and other groups who can share their practical experiences of undertaking similar work. Llais y Goedwig is the community woodland network in Wales and can offer advice, networking opportunities and best practice guidance.