Villagers plans for woodland

VILLAGERS have ambitious plans to turn a large area of farmland into a woodland wonderland.Not content with creating the 7.4acre Hoggs Kiss Woodland as their millennium project, Debenham has ideas for a 25-acre site next to it.

VILLAGERS have ambitious plans to turn a large area of farmland into a woodland wonderland.

Not content with creating the 7.4acre Hoggs Kiss Woodland as their millennium project, Debenham has ideas for a 25-acre site next to it.

The plans would see an 11.25acre area off Water Lane transformed into a working woodland, and linked to pastureland, a pond and a huge lake.

A proposed car park and picnic area are also being considered and the area would be a haven for wildlife and wild plants.

Villagers are currently in the process of negotiating a long lease for the land, which belongs to Suffolk County Council.

A 14-strong steering group for the project has been formed following a public meeting held on Tuesday which was attended by Suffolk County Council and Mid Suffolk District Council officials.

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"Suffolk County Council have been very supportive with this project and continue to be," said Mr Baxter.

The group will be firming up proposals for the site before seeing what grants they can attract.

Parish councillor Gerry Baxter, who chaired the public meeting, said the impetus for the project came from the villagers themselves.

"This whole thing really came up through the village appraisal where a woodland and lake was of high priority in what the village wanted to see.

"The Market Towns Initiative are taking up and supporting projects that have come through the village appraisal of which this is one," he said.

"We have got some lovely walks and this will extend the walks, and give them even more beautiful countryside to look at while they are on these walks around Debenham and surrounding area."

As well as a resource for people, the area could also become a tourist attraction for the village. "We do get quite a lot of people coming here," he said.

The idea was the village children would be involved in the woodland from day one, watch it grow and stay involved with it through their school days.

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