Making our woodland directory

Assembling a directory of all our woods (more than 1,000) is a technically demanding job.

We maintain several databases about our estate so that our staff and volunteers can access information easily and to make the directory, we have to export this data into a format that can be readily used by people who might not be familiar with our woods. It's not as easy as you might think!

Avon Valley Woods in Devon. Our legal boundaries are marked in red.

One of the prime examples of how complicated managing this data can be is Avon Valley Woods in Devon.

We manage this wood as one 'unit' or ‘Wood group’, called Avon Valley Woods. In reality though, it is made up of five separate woods that neighbour each other. The locals know the woods by their individual names, so in our directory we have to find a way to include the name we use and the names that the public use. This problem is repeated at several of our woods across the UK.

Hucking Estate in Kent. The wood is largely one continuous unit bisected by a road, but is made up of several compartments of land.

We also have the opposite problem - we have individual ‘compartments ’ in some of our woods, but the public know the whole wood by one name only.

In these cases, we want our directory to include only the public information. This might include sites where we've bought one extension or more over the years, where there are multiple legal boundaries or sites where we're managing several ancient woods alongside newly planted fields.

The key from our new Guide and Directory.

Our wonderful tech team works on ironing out all of the quirks in the dataset, which includes the map location, nearest town, wood size, any legal designations and a grid reference. Our design team then works to present this in an elegant and easy to use format for our members.

We have an excellent in-house design team. They're responsible for creating all the leaflets, magazines, posters, information boards and other 'arty' things that we produce. Their task with the directory is to present our wood information in an easily readable format, and make sure everything looks good. We hope you'll agree that they have succeeded with our directory!

After this, it's a case of checking through the design to make sure there aren't any errors. Different teams across are involved with this phase, to catch any errors before we go to print. Once printed, all that's needed is for us to send out the new directory to our members, and you should be receiving this in your post over the next couple of days with the new summer issue of Broadleaf, our membership magazine.

The next task is for you. Choose a wood and get visiting!

Our wood directory is free to members. Join us from £3/month to support our work and you'll receive it in your Welcome Pack.