Birchden Wood is a Forestry Commission site adjacent to Harrison’s Rocks, a natural sandstone feature, owned by the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) and popular with climbers. 

The car park, campsite and toilet block at Birchden are leased from the Forestry Commission by Sport England (SE) who carry out maintenance and have a funding agreement with the BMC to manage them. This agreement expires in November 2014.

Whilst we are holding on-going discussion with SE and the BMC, with the funding coming to an end the agreement cannot continue. The Forestry Commission do not have the resources to manage the facilities and unless a viable alternative is forthcoming, it is most likely the toilets and campsite will close.

 

Have your say

We want to hear the views and ideas of all visitors to Birchden Wood and Harrison's Rocks on viable alternatives.

There are many different options and types of initiatives that could be considered such as a community group running the facilities and raising funding or a business charging for parking to fund cleaning and maintenance. 

Any proposals such as these would need to be financially viable and adhere to set standards.  They would be dealt with through a separately run process to this discussion forum but the discussion will allow us to guage opinions on the ideas put forward. 

You can make a suggestion by selecting the "Submit an idea" button in the right hand column. As well as contributing your own ideas, the forum enables you to rate and comment on ideas suggested by others, which allows us to understand consensus views.

Please note that inappropriate or irrelevant comments and ideas will be removed

 

Background

Birchden Wood's dense white barked birch woodland is a result of the storm of 1987 which blew down much of the commercially planted conifers.  The birches seen here today have regenerated from the natural seed bank and the woodland is an important feature of the local landscape.  As well being important to climbers, Birchden Wood is popular with walkers, cyclists and young families who make use of its easy access trail and enjoy the interpretation and sculptures. 

What Happens Next?

The initial discussion will continue until the 10th of January 2014 and once we’ve considered the comments we’ll decide how to progress.  Depending upon the level of responses to this process we aim to publish our findings and proposals by 24th of January 2014 on the Birchden Wood web page
 

For an example of how we publish the results you can view a previous discussion on Mountain Biking in Friston Forest

 

Additional Information

Sport England's decision not to renew the lease is inline with their strategic objectives for the National Sports Centres they run, which focuses on providing world class training and competition facilities.  Any future plans for the site and management will be for the Forestry Commission to decide.

At present the toilet block is closed, as it is unsafe for use, but Sport England is currently undertaking work with the aim to bring them back into a good state of repair by January 2014.