We are proud to present our second business plan and associated documents for Raincliffe Wood Community Enterprise (RWCE), a social enterprise owned and run by the local community taking on the challenge of managing Raincliffe Woods, Forge Valley and Row Brow Woods for at least the next 100 years. Raincliffe Woods is a huge area of woodland (222 Hectares) starting right at the edge of urban Scarborough town and running out into the countryside and North York Moors National Park. It is the largest community owned woodland in England.
The woods are a valuable habitat for wildlife, an important landscape feature and a popular recreational asset for local people and tourists.The whole site is planted ancient woodland and parts are of such great value that they are designated National Nature Reserve or Site of Special Scientific Interest. However, the woods had been neglected for many years with little significant management since the 1950s. Much of the site was in a poor condition with decreasing wildlife value, decaying infrastructure and overcrowded conifer trees.
RWCE has reversed this decline and offer the woods a bright and sustainable future. The Enterprise has put this invaluable local asset into the safekeeping of local people, supported with the expert advice and assistance of partner organisations such as the Woodland Trust. The woods are being managed sensitively by people who care and the Enterprise is growing into a strong and independent business that can guarantee the woods will be free for everyone to enjoy for our generations to come.
The Enterprise also offers innovative ideas and solutions to local problems – energy production from wood fuel, training, employment and timber for products such as fencing and garden furniture. The health & wellbeing benefits that the woodland delivers are well documented and we provide guided walks to encourage a much wider diversity in those accessing the woodlands. This has become so much more important to us all since the onset of Covid-19.
The management is dynamic and imaginative with the objective of creating a centre where visitors can learn about the woodlands, the wildlife, insects, plants and trees. To learn about the heritage of the woodlands and its creation after the last glaciation.
RWCE does not seek to preserve the woodland as it is, but to introduce improvements in biodiversity, community involvement and enterprise for maximum local benefits.