Pigshill and Clarrick Woods Community Interest Company (CIC) is based in the Rame Head AONB in South East Cornwall. Pigshill Woods is the only community-managed woodland space on the South West Peninsula. The CIC are working to restore 66 acres of neglected woods, establishing a working woodland as an educational template and improving public access and engagement.
Pigshill Woods has been running volunteer-based activities on-site since 2017 with the aim of improving the woodlands’ health and engaging the local community in the process. Through this work, we have found that there are many additional benefits to be gained beyond planting trees. For example, volunteers have grown from training, team working and environmental knowledge, expanding both their employability and social skills. In 2020, we worked closely with teachers from the two local primary schools to pilot a safe, innovative and creative educational session for pupils. Feedback received from these activities showed that the children enjoyed engaging with the academic and creative elements of the sessions and developed a stronger sense of curiosity for the woodlands that was shared with their families.
Pigshill Woods is currently working with The National Lottery and Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport’s Coronavirus Community Support Fund, allowing members of the local community and Plymouth Hope to work together on woodland management tasks. The CIC has also received funding from Cornwall AONB, the Mendinnick Solar Fund, Awards for All, and the COOP Community Fund, has achieved Grown in Britain status and has qualified for the Countryside Stewardship Higher Tier Award.
Going forward, we are also looking into developing collaborative inter-generational projects with schools and families that could be included in the local schools’ and home educators’ curricula. Pigshill Woods has also established links with the local Social Prescribing Link Officer and is working to formalise a pathway for future patient referrals.