A plantation in Ramsey is to be transformed into a nature-rich native woodland that benefits people and wildlife, with areas for recreation, exploration and play.
Claughbane plantation, which is adjacent to the iconic Ramsey hairpin, will be given a new lease of life thanks to a long-term agreement between the Isle of Man Government and Manx Wildlife Trust (MWT) with the Hairpin Woodland Park (HWP) that will be launched in 2024.
MWT will take over the running of the plantation initially until 2121 – having already carried out improvements in the area under a short–term license from the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA).
The woodland was established around 120 years ago with conifers and broadleaved trees and recent management has focussed on developing recreation, enhancing biodiversity and improving resilience and sustainability.
Claughbane plantation is the gateway for a flagship Biosphere project run by MWT, which aims to create the Isle of Man’s first forest by linking and expanding existing wooded areas.
Leigh Morris, CEO of the MWT, said: ‘It’s a wonderful site for wildlife and people with many unique features and over time we plan to gradually convert it into an accessible, nature-rich native woodland, the equal of any woodland parks in the UK.
‘We have a clear vision and this lease gives us the confidence and time to accelerate our plans, working closely with Douglas Rotary Club and other partners including the Milntown Estate. It also means we can connect new audiences with our UNESCO Biosphere.’
MWT will now look to secure increased funding support from third parties so their army of volunteers can start planting trees, improving footpaths and creating better access from both the Hairpin and Milntown.
Clare Barber MHK, Minister for DEFA, said: ‘This is an exciting project that supports this Government’s climate, biodiversity and Biosphere commitments, while reducing maintenance and management costs for tax payers. We look forward to seeing the area transform over time into a hotspot for biodiversity and wellbeing.
‘The Department is grateful to MWT and their army of enthusiastic volunteers for their hard work over the last few years, which is clearly having a positive impact.’
DEFA will continue to sit on a new management committee for the area.
Photo: From left to right – Leigh Morris and Simon Cain (CEO and Chair MWT) Clare Barber MHK and Jason Bolt (DEFA Minister and Head of Forestry)