Cumbria Woodlands: Community Woodlands & Burning Wood as Fuel

Cumbria Woodlands  will source and work with two communities in the Eden area to bring under-managed woodland into community management, and promote wood as a sustainable and affordable fuel.  The woodland could then generate an income for communities, secure the future of threatened woodland, offer diverse heating options and reduce carbon emissions.

Firewood should warm you three times, goes the saying, once in the cutting, once in the splitting and once in the burning.  As part of our Sustain Eden programme, Cumbria Woodlands are in the process of developing two community woodfuel schemes in the Eden area.  A community woodfuel scheme can take many forms but essentially it combines woodlands that need managing with local people.  In return for their labour and efforts they are rewarded with lower cost firewood. There are a range of benefits; better woodlands; improved wildlife habitats; physical and emotional health; and lower cost firewood that can replace some fossil fuel use.

A similar scheme has been running near Kendal for the last three years and an ongoing study of why people got involved has shown that the firewood is often the reason people join. However, the enjoyment of working in local woodlands, developing an understanding of woods and the social nature of group work are the reasons people continue to participate.  For the woodland owners they often get improved management at no cost and it can improve areas that are not commercially viable to manage or where there just isn’t the time to do as much as they would like.

We are keen to gather interest from people who own or manage woodlands in the Eden district and would be interested in talking about the possibilities and we would also like to hear from anyone who would be interested in joining just a scheme if it were available in their area.

If you fit either of these groups please email Gareth Thomas gareth@woodmatters.org.uk as that will help as these plans develop.