Queenswood Country Park (image: Herefordshire Council)
Queenswood Country Park and Bodenham Lake are managed by a partnership of two local organisations: Herefordshire Wildlife Trust & New Leaf, working closely with local communities.
Both sites are retained in public ownership through Herefordshire Council and leased to the partnership via a 99 year leasehold ‘community asset transfer’.
Herefordshire Wildlife Trust is the largest membership-based wildlife organisation in the county, dedicated to inspiring people about wildlife, acting as a wildlife champions and creating wildlife havens.
Our vision is for a Herefordshire richer and more diverse in wildlife that is valued, and cared for, by its people to the benefit of all.
The Trust covers the county of Herefordshire and works closely with neighbouring Wildlife Trusts in England and Wales. The Trust is supported by around 5,000 local members and manages 54 nature reserves. We are a member of the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, a federation of 47 Wildlife Trusts covering the whole of the British Isles.
The Herefordshire Wildlife Trust Limited is a company registered in England and Wales no. 00743899 & registered charity no 220173
NEW LEAF is a not for profit co-operative, whose aim is to promote sustainable living in Herefordshire and beyond.
Initiated in 2010, we are best known for our annual h.Energy event and for our work to reduce Herefordshire’s carbon footprint. As a small charitable co-op, New Leaf works collaboratively with many communities, public sector organisations and businesses across the county. We seek to support and encourage people, locally and internationally, to demonstrate that the pursuit of a flourishing ecology, human wellbeing and a prosperous local economy are worthwhile and inter-related objectives with multiple benefits.
New Leaf Sustainable Development Ltd is an exempt charity and is a not-for-profit co-operative (BenCom), no. 31282R
Following the transfer, the sites will no longer be receiving any funding from the council. To ensure the sites continue to be maintained to a high standard - both the wildlife habitat and visitor facilities, the Partnership will be introducing a 'Friends of Queenswood and Bodenham Lake' scheme and installing pay and display parking meters.
We will also seek to raise revenue from sales of logs and charcoal produced from the management of the woodland, through the new shop, once opened, and through courses, workshops and events.
Once the transfer is completed, a Site Management Group for each of the two sites will be created to oversee the running of each site. Both groups will include community representatives.
Facilities at Queenswood
A Visitor Centre and shop have been reintroduced to the site, stocked with locally produced products with an emphasis on woodland crafts. They are open on Thursdays to Sundays from 10.00am to 4.00pm.
The cafe will continue to be run by the current operator, with the lease payment transferred to the new Partnership between Herefordshire Wildlife Trust and New Leaf.
Managing the two sites
Herefordshire Wildlife Trust has much experience at senior managerial and strategic level in managing wildlife sites including sites of special scientific interest as we currently manage 55 nature reserves acorss the county. We run WildPlay and Forest School programmes (for which Queenswood and Bodenham Lake are already venues), a wide range of habitat improvement, species conservation and community engagement projects.
Through the expertise of New Leaf, the sites will be used as exemplars of good practice to support the county's approach to sustainable development. An example of this is a proposal to seek funding to refurbish the buildings to the highest possible energy standards and undertake energy management measures, with the intention of minimising carbon emissions associated with the two sites.
The team at the site is led by a Site Manager and includes Rangers for practical management and a Visitor Experience Officer as well as benefit from the support of Herefordshire Wildlife Trust and New Leaf staff. Volunteers will play an important part in the sites and there will be lots of opportunities for volunteers to take on a variety of roles.
New Leaf and Herefordshire Wildlife Trust invited local people to join them at three community consultation events about the proposed changes in the management of Queenswood and Bodenham Lake at Bodenham, Hope Under Dinmore and Leominster during 2015. Staff from the Trust have also presented our proposals and welcomed feedback at more recent local parish meetings in 2016. Boththe consultation document and the presentation given are below: