Our forests are the lifeblood of our business and we ensure we treat them with the respect they deserve, nurturing and enhancing the woodland to encourage greater biodiversity and creating habitats for species of both local and national significance.
Each of our villages has a bespoke Forest Management Plan which clearly sets out our approach over a 10-year period across all areas of forest management, including waterways, scrub, grassland, arboriculture and landscaping.
We have a responsibility to protect the species which call our forests home, from more common species through to those with European Protection status, and we monitor these through our Sensitive Area Maps.
To help us care for these species, we conduct annual surveys to understand the population of flora and fauna across our villages. These surveys are managed by our Conservation Rangers, supported by ecological consultants, and the results are collated into an Annual Ecological Monitoring Report. From these reports, each village will establish a set of Biodiversity Action Targets and an Annual Work Plan for the year. Regular Quality Audits are carried out at each village to ensure work is progressing as planned.
We have been awarded The Wildlife Trusts’ Biodiversity Benchmark Award for 15 consecutive years, recognising the work we do to actively protect and enhance biodiversity on our sites, as well as validating our performance in meeting our Biodiversity Action Targets. There are five requirements which must be met in The Wildlife Trusts’ Annual Surveillance Audit: commitment, planning, doing, checking and acting.
We reach millions of guests every year, and we know we have a role to play in educating both them and our colleagues about the importance of effective forest management and biodiversity, offering tips and advice for ways they can play their part when they return home and during their break. We have a Nature Centre on each of our villages, where guests can learn more about the wildlife in the forest and participate in interactive sessions to further their knowledge. We encourage our Conservation Rangers to share their knowledge and engage, in particular with our younger guests to foster an early sense of appreciation for the natural world. We also use our social media channels to share information about the species in our forests, as well as publishing regular updates for our employees.