A woodland without a forester? – Part 1

A friend of mine recently mentioned an issue with regard to an area of woodland to the west of the River Alt within Sefton Borough in the Civil Parish of Sefton. The issue is about a carved wooden owl which had, I think, been provided/erected as a piece of public artwork (on a concrete base) probably when the woodland was laid out/created around 2002. The owl has keeled over or even been pulled over as this photo illustrates:-

The area concerened is the green shaded one with the location of the carved owl where the red circle is drawn.

My first thought was, oh that will be a matter to be raised with what was the Forestry Commission, now rebranded as Forestry England. After further thought, other organisations came to mind who had or may have had a hand in the laying out of the various pieces of woodland in this part of Sefton Borough back in the early 2000s, or who hold ongoing maintenance responsibilities. Those other organisations are The Woodland Trust (I think they just coordinated the early 2000s work), Groundwork Trust, Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority (MWDA) and possibly Sefton Council. I mention MWDA because quite a bit of the land over which the woodland planting was done had previously been used as landfill sites.

A walk in the woods (nothing to do with Bill Bryson’s excellent book I might add) was required to orientate myself and my friend acted as my guide. As we entered the relevant section of woodland this sign came into view:-

Clearly, it has the logos on it of two of the organisations I mention above.

So I fired off an email to pretty much all of the organisations I’ve listed and replies started to roll in. MWDA told me that their responsibilities are only associated with the landfill under the woodland. They thought the relevant part of Groundwork Trust had gone bust around 2005 and that it was possible that Sefton Council had taken on the land. Forestry England confirmed it was not one of their sites and they said they thought it may have passed through the hands of more than one organisation finally indicating that they felt the site was likely to the responsibility of MWDA. They also sent me this updated site plan:-

The area we are looking at above is the green one without a red line around it.

And then yet then another organisation came to mind called Mersey Forest so I emailed them too.

In words used to title the Isaac Hayes album – To be Continued – Keep an eye out for posting two……….

3 thoughts on “A woodland without a forester? – Part 1

  1. nigel hunter says:

    Why have they changed it to Forestry England? Blatant nationalism NOT patriot ism. Little Englander’s. also gives the lie to ‘Unionism’, unless that is Johnson’s version where the Union is under his control.

  2. Frank Sharp says:

    Hi Tony,
    As far as I know the stone owl is still safe and sound and upright but is situated in Jubilee wood. The picture you have there, I think, is in Roughly Wood ( behind the Punchbowl pub) and was originally part of a couple of wooden structures that have decayed over the last 20/30 years. It is in the correct position and I think it is the body of the spider. Iā€™m not sure what the other one was.

    The person that manages the woods, apparently is responsible for all the forestry England Woodlands between Liverpool and the Lake District on the west side of the M6! Quite a responsibility! I did ask him if it would be possible to resurrect some more wooden structures, to encourage families to explore, but he expressed his concern that if they were burnt they could create some devastation to the woodland. Interestingly, he did say at one stage that he was attempting to organise an amateur running event in the woodland, to raise the profile, but I guess Covid intervened here.

    As part of our Stafford Morton Way project (video http://www.spacehive.com/Stafford-moreton) we have plans from 2018 to install a noticeboard to re-signpost people to our local underused woodland and Lunt meadow resources.

    All the best,


    • Thanks Frank, yes we aren’t talking about the stone owl but yes we are talking about the wood behind the Punch Bowl. Not heard of it being called Roughley Wood, it is referred to on the original 2002 site plans as Sefton Meadows 3. If you are referring to Forestry England’s Warrington HQ then FE is saying it is not one of their woods. Goodness knows where this investigation will get me, I can’t see the wood for the trees:-)

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