Thousands of people visit Salcey every year. The forest is a remnant of the medieval royal hunting forest. Reminders of the past can still be found, with many miles of ancient woodbanks, building remains and ancient trees. The 'druids' or veteran oaks in Salcey are rare and amazing wildlife habitats, and some of the old oaks are believed to be over 500 years old.
Christopher Somerville wrote an article in the Telegraph travel section which describes the area and recounts some colourful local history. The full article can be found here
In 2005 a tree top walk was added giving visitors a superb view of the forest and allowing them to experience the wildlife that can be found 59ft up in the forest canopy.
With amazing forest views, bridleways and footpaths, a children's play area and delightful unspoilt woodlands to explore this is not the place to develop an industrial windfarm.
The financial case
Recreation areas such as Salcey Forest have now been officially recognised as being extremely valuable. The government published the UK’s first National Ecosystem Assessment on 2nd June 2011.
Defra's chief scientist, Dr Bob Watson
speaking about the governments new NEA report said:
What we haven't recognised in our decision making is the value of our forests, our agricultural land, our mountains, moors and heaths. We've taken these things for granted, but what we're saying now is that we should take this hidden value more explicitly into account when it comes to decision making,
The full report can be found here ... please note that this report is quite large (10 Mb file)
The Secretary of State for the Environment, Caroline Spelman, welcomed the report describing it as a vital step forward in our ability to understand the true value of nature.
"Everybody knows the wow factor when you walk into a bluebell wood, but these scientists and economists have actually managed to calculate the value of the 250-300 million day-visits to our woodlands and forests. That's worth £1.2 billion to our economy".
The report also concludes that the health benefits of merely living close to a green space are worth up to £300 per person per year.
Salcey Forest is a unique asset, those tree top views help to bring visitors to this area and sustain local employment. Salcey is worth saving for nature's sake alone but we will be asking Milton Keynes council to agree with the governments "National Ecosystem Assessment" and decide that it also makes financial sense to refuse planning permission for an industrial wind factory at Salcey Forest.