GREEN thinking or what? DSP Architects, of Clifton Moor, York, which has a national reputation for designing eco-efficient premises, has bought 13.5 acres of historic woodland “to help offset the carbon footprint of its work”.

The practice, which was short-listed for a green award by industry magazine Estates Gazette last autumn for its design of York Eco Business Centre, is starting a long-term management programme at the mixed woodland.

Complete with fishing rights, the acres are in the historic Nidd Gorge, between Knaresborough and Ripley, near Harrogate.

The area has evidence of human activity 4,000 years ago, and is so rich in wildlife it once formed part of a royal hunting ground owned by King John in the 13th century.

Today its trees include oak, ash, beech and blackthorn and it is home to roe deer. On the opposite bank of the River Nidd are large areas owned by the Woodland Trust.

DSP Architects acquired the land from a private owner for an undisclosed sum, believed to be tens of thousands of pounds.

David Spencer, DSP Architects’ founder and principal, said: “Although this is historic woodland, our acquisition is all about the future and to demonstrates our commitment to the environment and sustainability.

“We work throughout the UK and have been pivotal in major recent developments in China and India, so our staff travel a great deal by car and aeroplane in the course of their work.

“We wanted to invest part of the return from this activity in a way which would help offset our carbon footprint.”

York’s Eco Business Centre in Clifton Moor, developed by The Helmsley Group, York, is leased to City of York Council and sublet to Business Link.

It has environmental features including a wind turbine, ground-source heating and cooling, and rainwater harvesting for flushing all communal area toilets.

Last summer Nell Bank, a £250,000, 90-seat, open-air class room and shower block also designed by DSP Architects for Bradford Council, was voted Britain’s favourite National Lottery-funded environmental project.

Mr Spencer said: “Buying this woodland may be quite a small gesture in the overall scheme of sustainability, but this woodland is the right size for us to manage as a business. This is not just hot air.”