Hill Holt Wood
On the border of Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire sits the ancient woodland Hill Holt Wood, where an entrepreneurial approach to forestry management has created a thriving and sustainable business with many social and environmental benefits.
Hill Holt, which is a Social Enterprise UK member, educates and trains at-risk youth who have been excluded from school, giving them the lasting benefits of education, practical skills, the ability to work in a team, increased confidence and time spent outdoors.
The training skills include eco-construction, the manufacture of wooden furniture and the installation of water purification systems.
The wood was purchased in 1995 by Nigel (pictured right) and Karen Lowthrop and has gone from being a damaged piece of land to a sustainable and successful business which in 2007 had a turnover of over £500,000 and a surplus of £100,000 which is re-invested in the business and its staff of 20. Hill Holt Wood approaches the management of the woodland both in the traditional sense, as a habitat to be managed, but also utilises the natural resource in its main goals of training and education.
The impact of Hill Holt wood has been enormous. The Rural Beat team leader of the Lincolnshire police was impressed enough to write a letter in April 2008 saying: 'During the last year the anti-social behaviour and criminal damage in our policing team area has reduced by at least 25%. Joint agency working has been seen by members of the community as vital and this has contributed to the level of service they have received. Without the assistance from staff from Hill Holt Wood we wouldn't be achieving such high standards.”