Save Smithy Wood!

For those of us who drive, one of the most important things on a long journey is the ability to stop and take a break. It’s important for so many reasons, from comfort to safety. 

When we heard recently about a proposal to build a new motorway service area just to the north of Sheffield, we thought ‘not a problem, this is something drivers need’. 

Unfortunately when we saw the plans in more detail we were not so impressed. The proposal is to build the service area in the middle of Smithy Wood, an ancient wood which has existed for hundreds of years. Up to 20 acres (at least 8 ha) of the wood would be lost. 

Sign our petition today!

Sign our petition today!

We are now discussing our concerns and opposition with the developer. We are also taking part in what is called a pre-application consultation. This is something that is running until the 16th of September and is where the developer looks for public comment on their plans, before deciding whether to put in an official planning application.

This is also where you come in!

The pre-application consultation is open to the public; you can find more on their website here. We have also set up a petition urging them not to build in ancient woodland and to consider alternative sites. One alternative could be a large brownfield site right next door to Smithy Wood that they even already own. 

So if you would like to sign our petition to help Save Smithy Wood, that would be great! For those that would like to comment further on the proposal, you can do so as part of the developer’s consultation. 

We’ll keep you up to date about this as things develop and thank you again for your continued support.

Oliver Newham, Senior Campaigner: Ancient woodland


About Kaye Brennan

Trying vegan, staying warm. Occasional bursts of words.
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31 Responses to Save Smithy Wood!

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  3. Gareth G. says:

    Destroying Smithywood would be an obscenity, more so as the reason is the lining of pockets. It should not go ahead in any way. Once it’s gone it’s gone forever, it was a big enough tragedy that part of the wood was lost to the M1 and this plan would ‘complete the job’. The area’s awash with brownfield sites which could be used. Common sense before profit!

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  5. Peter Thompson says:

    Is it really necessary to rip up an area of beautiful woodland. This is an area of ancient woodland and excellent for our threatened wildlife. The area must be retained for future generations, an alternative brownfield site is available nearby and in any event it is only about 25 miles from Woolley to Woodall service stations. This development must not be allowed.

  6. carole braney says:

    I have used the M1 on a regular basis for many years and I have never found it inconvenient not to have a service station every 22 miles or so, most people like myself who travel regularly can usually drive up to two hours without stopping. Persons using the M25 do not have a service station every few miles and manage fine. We cannot, as a country keep destroying habitat of this type. There are houses, and other projects being built over green belt land and now they want to destroy this unique habitat, it must not happen for the sake of all the wild life and flora that depend on it. and for the people that get so much enjoyment walking through it. We have dominion over the
    wildlife that doesn’t destroy it.

  7. Paul Brackenbury says:

    The MSA is the latest round in attempts to develop the Smithywood area of Chapeltown, the developers have already built a distribution centre on the site and coupled with the fateful RecyCoal scheme for Hesley Wood which will destroy another area of regenerating woodland the effect on the green amenity will be catastrophic.
    The brown field site adjacent isn’t a practical solution as this will impact on the road to and from the motorway and with a planned traffic volume of 500 to 600 vehicles per hour using the MSA then Junction 35 will become a no go zone for local residents. there are viable alternatives at J35a as there are existing facilities close by and base slip roads also exist for alternate slip roads to be constructed to allow both on and off North and south.

  8. Derek Stagg says:

    Woodall to woolley edge is 27.5 miles and less than 30 minutes so it does not fall into the criteria for needing a service area between the two locations. The developers do not mention the distance between Blythe msa and Woodall msa or the distance between Doncaster msa and Woodall msa this would then clearly indicate that any service area ( if required ) would need to be located on the M18 between the M1 and the A1 possibly around junction 1

  9. Pingback: Support grows for protecting Smithy Wood | Woodland Matters

  10. Graham says:

    Services are not to be encouraged. The food is rubbish, nobody buys the expensive petrol and the shops are only for compulsive purchasers. $0 minutes between service stations is plenty.

  11. Alison says:

    There is NO need for a service area here. Woodhall Services isn’t very busy and Woolley Edge Services is always quiet. The 40 miles journey distance they quote from Doncaster to Woolley Edge is ridiculous beacuse no-one would drive that way as there are easier alternative routes to all of the nearby towns such as Huddersfiield, Wakefield and Barnsley. I doubt one person a year drives from Doncaster to Woolley Edge via Sheffield! There is no need to destroy ancient woodland or to build more unneccesary facilities anywhere else on this junction.

  12. Mrs Ward says:

    I live really close to the threatened Smithy Wood. The thought of it being ripped up for a service
    station fills me with dread. Living so near to the motorway we desperately need trees to buffer the
    sound of the traffic. These woods are home to a wide variety of birds, some of which visit my garden.
    We’ve had a family of Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, Black Caps, Goldfinches, Greenfinches etc etc, all
    of which seem to be making a comeback in our area. Even if they built in the brown field site, the
    noise and light pollution would disturb the wildlife in the area. There is absolutely no need for a
    service station in the area, Meadowhall is just off junction 34 and has loads of facilities for drivers to
    stop for refreshments and a travelodge for overnight stays. The developers want to build the service
    station in the wood so that passing traffic can see it from the motorway, its absolutely disgraceful!

  13. Anne says:

    I’m doubtful of the need for another service station. Never use them unless answering a call of nature.

    Leave the woodland intact and build on the brownfield site if you have to build to create “jobs” .

  14. Claire Taylor says:

    Save the woods!!!

  15. Dave emsley says:

    Why build at all? There is a McDonalds, She’ll services, Premier Inn and Taybarn within 1/2 a mile of both 35a and 36. All they need is to be signposted from the Motorway as a service area, which is not the case at present.

  16. Jim Clark says:

    Yet another lost cause, cars and fast food outlets are far more important than wildlife and ancient woods. Wildlife and conservation are only useful to get you elected or look good in a glossy company report, in reality they don’t care. The British public see a few fields and woods on television adverts and think everythings right with the world.

  17. Alice says:

    I’d hate to see some wonderful ancient woodland needlessly destroyed but some brownfield sites can be hugely valuable for wildlife – they can match ancient woodland in terms of numbers of species, especially the rare ones.

    I agree that less ecologically damaging alternatives should be looked at (developing ancient woodland is crazy!). Viable alternatives seem to often be ignored and the most convenient option put forward at detriment to our precious countryside and wildlife.

    • Rwthless says:

      That is a very useful remark and yes, there are some wonderful reclaimed places for wildlife. I don’t think this is an either/or situation, but the juxtaposition of the brownfield land so close to the ancient woodland may also have been a salvo to get people to agree to the new area being there if a local anclent woodland could be saved. Was it really threatened at all, or was it a ‘tease’? What other places do they want to ruin with a motorway service area instead of what is already there?

  18. Patricia Thomas says:

    Although I have never travelled on this particular stretch of motorway, I am quite appalled at the idiocy of destroying a forest when there is a brown field site right next to it. Please add my name to the petition, and I fervently hope that the planners will rethink this scheme.

  19. clive c says:

    Very happy to support this petition and make comments to the developers consultation. With a brown field alternative site available so near to the woodland it is tragic this was not the preferred development option. Hope the campaign is successful ~ the more folk who add their name to both petition and developers consultation the better.

    • clive c says:

      Just been reading my autumn edition of Broadleaf – the report entitled HS2 battle gathers speed. I note ancient woodlands ” in the line of fire” – No 30 Smithy Wood S Yorks. i assume this is the same wood. So…. it faces a double threat.

  20. Rwthless says:

    Motorway service areas are mostly horrible. They would be much improved if they meant less walking about, or more access to nicer walking areas with lots of trees. That means keeping the wood and developing the brownfield site. Architects hate trees. They describe forests as ‘sites’. Always describe a property you are trying to protect in the terms you want it to stay. Never give in to people calling it a site. A site is an area of land that is naked of all life. I’m sure architects don’t see trees. In their mind’s eye they convert any space not covered in buildings into a patch of bare ground. If they can’t get round a TPO, they take care to appoint a builder who will always insist on planting their site office where the TPOs are and they get felled to make room for a portacabin.

    • Beverley Phillips says:

      “They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum. Then they charged the people a dollar-and-a-half just to see ’em.” (from Big Yellow Taxi.) Joni Mitchell wrote this back in the 1970’s.
      Will these people EVER understand what they’re doing – or even care?

      • Rwthless says:

        They do know what they are doing and think we will stake ourselves to the railings. or die of despair. I’m happy to be a Nimby about Sheffield. I live in the South West. We should demonstrate at service stations loudly condemning the waste of space, food, intelligence. A national bookseller can’t take book tokens because the bookshop is a concessionaire. The coffee machine breaks down, they run out of sandwiches, they sell nothing but crisps, appalling burgers not fit to feed to pigs. They put the one armed bandits downstairs and the toilets upstairs. There are no comfortable chairs. Tables are formica and nasty.

        NIMBYS of the world unite, We have nothing to lose but our pride.

  21. Andy White says:

    Why are we here? I’m a psychotherapist with 25 years experience, published in the field of self-destructive behaviour and i don’t think I’ve ever come across a clinical example so appalingly mad, so frightening in its cold-blooded disregard for the other. Psychosis is largely defined by the flattening of affect in the face of another’s plight and disconnection from context. In other words lack of care. Well, here it is with text book accuracy. We often think of madness as the deranged gibbering of someone who is clearly insane from 20m off, but far more chilling and much less easy to spot is the be-suited executive with a glowing smile betrayed only by the icy dead eyes of someone who feels nothing for anyone or anything and would happily sell his own grandmother for a couple of bucks. So they want to flatten the wood for a service station when they could put it 100 yards away? Over my dead body. No more carnage and standing idly by. Come on people, if we don’t stand up to corporate insanity we lose our own grasp of what is good and just.

  22. In an area where the relics of heavy industry are all around, it’s even more important to retain this last vestige of pre-industrial landscape. It would be an act of pure vandalism to dstroythis wonderful habitat when a viable alternative is readily available.

  23. Jay Mitchell says:

    The link to your petition does not work.

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