To protect what remains of our only remnant of ancient woodland, allowing for all its diversity of flora and fauna that has adapted to this woodland habitat over several decades.
Raincliffe Wood, Forge Valley and Rowbrow Wood – approx 600 acres
This is now a rich and distinctive tract of countryside that shelters Scarborough’s steep escarpment from East Ayton along the Forge Valley embracing Throxenby Mere, then running the length of Rowbrow Ridge extending as far as Stepney Bank Farm.
Value to the community
This provides a distinctive richly luscious canopy and natural backdrop to Scarborough and its immediate environs. It gives the town an enduring rural feel. The mixed woodland including the conifers provides a pleasant visage all year round while helping to adsorb pollution and co2, in turn reducing the carbon footprint of the town. For wildlife it completes a perfect corridor from Oliver’s Mount to the Derwent Valley. It also shelters fertile farmland beyond the ridge on the upland plateau, retaining the soil and acting as a wind brake. Raincliffe Woods itself has a special place in the hearts and minds of local people who have known and loved this natural place all their lives. It already provides a safe place for many low impact activities while remaining a quiet unspoilt haven for simply enjoying the natural surroundings. The diverse nature of the woods make it an ideal location to support a variety of wildlife and plant life for which it provides shelter all through the year.
The area was shaped by melting ice water from the end of the ice age. The woodland that now covers the area is a direct link with the ancient forest that formed 6000 years ago. Although fashioned and reshaped by man throughout the ages, felling trees for forging operations and in more recent times (yet still several decades ago) planting conifer trees (mainly larch as a timber crop) the character of the woodland we know and love today has been formed. What we have now is unique, a truly wild and beautiful mixed woodland that has largely remained safe from human intrusion for over several decades.
Up until recent years Scarborough Council have been the custodians of the entire area and employed two rangers to safe guard the site. A local team of volunteers diligently worked at improving access and enhancing the woodland experience.
More recent developments
Since 2012 ‘Raincliffe Woods Community Enterprise’ (RWCE) was formed as part of some sort of ‘social enterprise’ its intension is to somehow make – ‘these woods work harder’ for the ‘community’ with a plethora of schemes, the least of which at its heart is anything to do with conservation.
A ‘business plan’ was set up by an ‘interim board’ to acquire a 25 year lease, with Scarborough Borough Council favouring the issuing of the bid to them by way of a ‘Community Asset Transfer’. The process was conducted despite other legitimate bids from the ‘Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’. This deal will in effect give RWCE virtual carte blanch to transform these woods beyond recognition and thus directly affect the surrounding environment and the quality of life of those living nearby and enjoying this special place as it is. In fact it is RWCE’s declared aim that retaining these woods in their present form is not an option!
a. Will be to have ‘Raincliffe Woods, Forge Valley and Rowbrow Woods returned (in their present form) to council ownership. The council would then retain their custodianship on behalf of and in trust for the whole community.
b. To encourage voluntary groups to work within the wood on small scale projects in keeping and in proportion with the environment.
Perhaps eventually these groups could form a small ‘Cottage Industry’ type of business to benefit local people.
Ask not what the Woodlands can do for you –
Ask what you can do for the Woodlands!