'Daunting' community woodland is mapped in 3D

Two men sitting in wood
Nick Granville-Fall of Ideosound and David Ruston of Your360 in Raincliffe Woods [Raincliffe Wood Community Enterprise ]

A North Yorkshire community-owned woodland has been digitally mapped to allow people to explore the "daunting" terrain.

The interactive virtual recreation of Raincliffe Woods, near Scarborough, features key locations from the 222-hectare site.

Sound recordings and 360-degree photography enable users who have mobility issues that prevent them visiting the nature reserve to experience it.

Volunteers from Raincliffe Woods Community Enterprise, which cares for the woodland, spent around a year working on the National Lottery-funded project.

'Unique tour'

They wanted to "take the woodland", which is located within the North York Moors National Park, to people who are unable to access it easily.

Virtual tour creator David Ruston said: "I've thoroughly enjoyed working with fellow creatives and the Raincliffe team on what quickly became a passion project.

"Living close to the woodland, I'm often walking or riding through and seeing the joy it brings to many others. By creating this unique tour we can help spread the great benefits the woods have to offer."

A picture of the interactive map
The map allows people to experience key sites within the woodland through 360-degree photography, sound recordings and photos [Supplied]

Parts of the site are steep with difficult terrain, which volunteers felt could be off-putting.

Raincliffe Woods events and outreach officer Gillian Astbury said: "This project has been a long time in the making.

"We all love our woodland, but we acknowledge that it can be a daunting place for some people to access, so we hope that this map can allow them to enjoy some of what the woods can offer."

Raincliffe and Forge Valley Woods is believed to be the largest community-managed woodland in England.

It includes a National Nature Reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The area was once part of a shooting estate owned by the Earl of Londesborough, which was later sold to a timber merchant who wanted to fell the trees and clear the land.

A group of local businessman managed to buy Raincliffe Woods back to save it from destruction.

It has been owned by the council since 1926.

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