Work starts to improve biodiversity in council's Covid memorial wood

Work has started on improving the biodiversity of a community woodland in Malvern which will be used as a memorial area for people who lost their lives in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Malvern Hills District Council (MHDC) is partnering with Malvern Community Forest (MCF) to make the improvements to 'The Wood of Thanks' which will act as a natural tribute to the amazing community response to support people through the pandemic.

The Wood of Thanks, which is an area of woodland next to Goodson Road by the retail park in Malvern, will also include a memorial for people who lost their lives to the virus.

MCF is a charity that invites communities, groups and individuals to be involved in managing woodlands, hedgerows, and more, for the enjoyment and benefit of local residents.

Their volunteers will be working to improve the health and biodiversity of the memorial wood through careful management of trees and vegetation, maintaining access trails and engaging the local community in their long-term program of conservation work.

Planned works include tree and shrub maintenance to improve woodland health, special 'hibernacula benches' which will serve as refuges for overwintering reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates.

A planned painted mural and natural sculptures within the site will incorporate creative touches from local artists.

The Madresfield Estate has provided the woodland for a period of 20 years and MHDC will be responsible for maintaining and enhancing the area. The project has received over £3,400 (which is 45% of the overall cost) of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund.

Cllr Beverley Nielsen, Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services at MHDC, said: "After so much suffering and dedicated service by key workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, this wonderful project offers local people the opportunity to enjoy this mature woodland, whilst perhaps taking time out for contemplation and reflection in these peaceful surroundings. The council has developed a plan to manage the woodland making it a better space for our wildlife and for visitors alike. I'd like to thank the Madresfield Estate, our Biodiversity Project Officer at MHDC and Malvern Community Forest volunteers for their support in enabling the revival of this very special space."

David Munday, Chair of Malvern Community Forest, said: "Malvern Community Forest are very happy to be a part of this venture. Getting people out into green spaces is one of our core aims. This will be a great place to kick back and relax to observe nature in an environment that is close to so many local residents. We will be holding working parties on the first Saturday of every month, maybe more when necessary. See what we're up to at where we have other projects which may interest you".

Notes to editors

The project has received over £3,400 (which is 45% of the overall cost) of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Natural Networks programme is delivered in partnership between Worcestershire County Council and Worcestershire Wildlife Trust. Further information can be found at

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit; 

Pictured: David Munday, Chair of Malvern Community Forest, Cllr Beverley Nielsen, Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services at MHDC, and Alastair Pounder, Biodiversity Project Officer at MHDC.

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