Sustainably managed woodlands - The Blackwell Park Woodlands Project

Blackwell’s ancient woodland provides a range of environmental, social and economic benefits to the area. To ensure that these are fully realised they need to be sustainably managed – including selective removal of trees and items not native to the woodlands – to create a diverse authentic habitat, improve public access, ensure the woodland is contributing to cleaning Guildford’s air and reducing the adverse impacts of climate change.

Application deadline
Funding information

The successful candidate will receive a generous stipend of £18,000 per annum throughout this time (with potential to increase to c. £20,000 per annum after two years). Stipends are usually tax-free and DPs will also benefit from an additional £500 p.a. allowance for attendance at conferences etc. In addition to this, full-time tuition fees (£4,195) will be covered at the current Home/EU rate for the duration of the programme.

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This project seeks to better understand the condition of Blackwell’s ancient woodland at its core and immediate environs and identify opportunities to increase the level of sustainable management for social, environmental and economic benefit for the local area and community. 

At Blackwell and through using the ancient woodlands as an anchor for a wider environmental project, we have a unique opportunity. This Practitioner Doctorate in Sustainability project will develop significant knowledge and insight, and publish results of environmental and social research (including assessing, valuing, informing and proposing methods and projects to increase natural capital) for the benefit of the development and the (new and existing) local communities.  The post holder will engage with professional environmental bodies (local and national), local and regional government, research and academic colleagues at the University of Surrey and the nearby local community, who would also have full involvement and engagement with the project and its outcomes.

Project deliverables:

  1. Contribute to the management, conservation, repair and sensitive development of Blackwell’s ancient woodland.
  2. Build an understanding and framework to connect how the ancient woodland forms a central part of the wider ecological and environmental/sustainable picture in the local area and its communities. 
  3. Using the natural capital protocol principles and framework undertake extended research to assess the existing value of the woodlands and wider green areas in the locality. Assess benefits of the ancient woodland to the local community and wider Guildford area (for example, this may include: benefits of accessing nature environments, health, fitness, mental wellbeing, educational, resource delivery (wood coppicing for example), improved/mitigation against local air pollution levels). 
  4. Make an assessment before, during and after any activity to repair and develop the ancient woodlands has taken place along with assessing impact and value of other university led local green space initiatives and community green spaces working collaboratively with stakeholders both within and external to the university. 
  5. Propose further projects, activity and interventions that will further benefit the ancient woodlands and its links and usability to the local community.
  6. Through research and engagement build a solid base for future study of the longitudinal benefits of development that will be undertaken at Blackwell, with sustainability at its core; before development, after woodland restoration, during construction after construction and when occupied by new communities. 

Eligibility criteria

Applicants are expected to hold a first or upper-second class degree in a relevant discipline (or equivalent overseas qualification), or a lower second plus a good masters degree (distinction normally required).

How to apply

Prior to application please contact Mrs Deidre Richardson (, for an information pack that will include:

  • A project brief
  • Information about the Centre for Environment and Sustainability
  • Details of the Practitioner Doctorate in Sustainability programme
  • Specific application instructions.

Contact details

For informal enquiries prior to application please contact Catherine Stuart:

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