Ramsey forest is 30 year project starting in 2014 to create a 20km2 forest between Ramsey and Sulby. The overall aim will be to increase woodland cover from about 20% of the area to 30% of the area and make the surrounding matrix of farmland a more tree rich landscape. The initiative has been conceived and developed by the Wildflowers of Mann Project (a partnership project between the Isle of Man Government and non-governmental organisations, and run by the Manx Wildlife Trust). The Manx Wildlife Trust will continue to develop Ramsey Forest over its 30 year creation phase.
Origin of the Project:
- The concept of a forest arose from botanical surveys by the Wildflowers of Mann Project in 2007-2009 that revealed the area had many rare and declining woodland wildflowers such as the wood melick.
- In 2010-2011 the Wildflowers of Mann Project surveyed the Island's woodlands to find which ones had ancient woodland characteristics. 30 woodlands were identified of which 10 are clustered in the Ramsey to Sulby escarpment. This survey was funded by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (in the UK).
o By the end of 2011 the Wildflowers of Mann Project and the Manx Wildlife Trust took the decision to develop the 'Ramsey Forest Project'.
o In 2012 the Wildflowers of Mann Project conducted a discrete consultation among landowners and important stakeholders to see if a credible and viable project would be feasible. This aspect was funded by the Manx Heritage Foundation/Culture Vannin.
o In the Summer of 2013 the project was launched to the public and fundraising and recruitment of volunteers began.
o In January 2014 the Forest was officially founded.
While the concept of the forest was initially to expand woodland areas to enable rare wildflowers to expand their populations it soon became apparent that the forest would be multi-purpose and deliver a range of benefits:
o The reintroduction of Juniper woodlands after their final disappearance in the 1940's.
o The extension of deadwood habitats for the rare ash black slug (allegedly the world's largest species of slug).
o The creation of upland oak woodland for rare migratory birds such as wood warbler and spotted flycatcher.
o The joining together of many lowland woodlands to enable rare wildflowers to increase and spread.
o Creating a permeable tree rich landscape where wildlife can spread freely.
o Planting trees within Ramsey town to bring woodland wildlife to people's door.
o Developing recreation facilities in existing government conifer plantations, while at the same time developing their conservation interest.
o Developing new nature trails and recreation facilities.
o Creating a new National Glen.
o Reaching out to new audiences from children to ethnic groups and disadvantaged groups.
o To create a large venue for woodland sports such as mountain biking.
Economic and community development
o Enhancing Ramsey's sense of place and community pride.
o Creating a green backdrop for investment and regeneration in Ramsey.
o Allowing opportunities for new enterprise in woodland based business from wood processing and craft to recreation and sport.
o Bringing trade into Ramsey.