Belford’s Community Woodland is more accessible thanks to the installation of a new path suitable for visitors with limited mobility.
Once a neglected area, the woodland is now a thriving habitat for wildlife where people can listen to the birds and enjoy the wild flowers.
Tended by volunteers, the area was reclaimed by the community a number of years ago. It continues to thrive under the watchful eye of Doug Renton, following on from Brian Rogers who left the village in 2012.
Speaking at the February meeting of Belford Parish Council, Mr Renton said: “I can’t really say that I can take over from Brian who started the woodland project off, and I wouldn’t dare step in his shoes - I don’t have the contacts that Brian had or the expertise. But I’m very happy to keep going. I’m not an expert, I’m just doing the best I can.”
The woodland, which sits on the corner of High Street and Croft Field, was previously difficult to access for people with mobility issues, and Mr Renton is hoping the new path - partially funded by an environmental grant - will alleviate the problem. “We’ve had a concrete path put in,” he explained. “It still goes up and down because of the lie of the land which I can’t alter, but it means the woodland is much more accessible to the elderly or less mobile, people with a stick or a pram. Hopefully now it can be used by everyone.”
Mr Renton thanked the band of willing volunteers who help to maintain the woodland, including schoolchildren who have been planting bulbs. “We have had tremendous support and a lot of enthusiasm from the villagers - I can’t thank them enough,” he said.
The next task is to sew grass seed to cover exposed areas of soil, which the parish council offered to provide. Chair Brenda Stanton said: “The Parish Council will get you a sack of grass seeds and if you need another, we’ll get another.”
She added: “Thank you very much for coming to speak to us and the work you’re doing - I think it’s excellent.”