Hill Holt Wood

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Objective Hill Holt Wood has three key core objectives based on the "ECONS" concept with additional objectives to be an empowering effective employer and to promote the principles of Hill Holt Wood to a wider audience.

To run environmentally sustainable woodland by..

  • Managing horticulture, permaculture and animal husbandry on a sustainable basis.
  • Managing the woodland sustainably
  • Monitoring the progress of flora and fauna to increase biodiversity

Developing and applying alternative/appropriate building, energy generation and manufacturing technology.

  • Staying "off-grid"

To run a locally-valued social enterprise by..

  • Providing amenity, facilities and access to local people and organisations within a safe, accessible, supportive and informative site.
  • Providing education, training and employment preparation advice to excluded school-children, young offenders and unemployed or otherwise disadvantaged young people.
  • Developing and implementing structures which facilitate community control.

Using local good, materials and services.

To run an economically viable social enterprise by..

  • Achieving an annual surplus for investment and innovation
  • Maintaining a diversity of income streams, clients, products and services
  • Manufacturing and selling woodland added-value products
  • Delivering consultancy services

In Addition To be a good employer by..

  • Operating to IIP standards and processes
  • Funding and providing opportunities for personal and career development
  • Facilitating internal promotion and professional improvement
  • Carrying out regular appraisals which emphasise skills, competence and performance as core ingredients and which reward individual and collective achievement
  • Balancing job quality and financial incentive
  • Encouraging an open, transparent, supportive, self-reliant, confident culture

Networking and influence by.. To promote success and influence policy

  • Provide 'experience' days and promote knowledge transfer
  • Participate in networking opportunities
  • Establish sustainable relationships with government, charities and representative organisations.
  • Promote success through media, internet and publications.

Hill Holt Wood carries out a social audit the last year published on the website was 2005


When Nigel and Karen Lowthrop first visited the 34-acre Hill Holt wood on the edges of the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire borders, it displayed all the tell-tale signs of serious neglect.

Much of it had been felled by a timber company that had not replanted the trees. Next to a main road, the wood's drainage systems were damaged and the forest itself was overrun by rhododendron bushes that would have to be uprooted by hand. In 1995, the Lowthrops bought the forest and set up a social enterprise that delivered the double bottom line of preserving the ancient trees, while supporting young people who have struggled to achieve at school.

Hill Holt wood, now one of the biggest employers in the area with 14 staff, is paid to provide courses for young people by the local council and through national government schemes to support young unemployed people. The enterprise also makes and sells woodland products, such as furniture and charcoal. In the year 2005 to 2006, the enterprise had a turnover of £450,000, which returned a surplus of £45,000.

Notes and references

www.hillholtwood.com http://www.hillholtwood.com/