Call to protect our ancient woodland
THE WOODLAND Trust is renewing its calls for more to be done to protect ancient woodland in Bucks which is under threat from HS2.
The charity says that across the UK, there are 575 ancient woods which are danger from development, with 23 in Bucks alone.
The trust is looking for new ‘Threat Reporters’ to sign up and identify cases of ancient woods under threat, and has also launched a new guide to help communities and landowners identify areas which could be restored.
About 50 per cent of the trust’s current cases involve ancient woods which were once covered in native broadleaf trees before being felled and replanted with conifers or non-native species during the last century.
Although these sites are often assumed to be damaged beyond repair, research suggests that they oten retain features which would allow them to be restored.
Oliver Newham from the Woodland Trust said: “Changes to the planning system in 2012 were supposed to help prevent ancient woodland from coming under threat, yet our caseload is as high as ever.
“We are seeing more positive action taken by landowners looking to manage and restore areas of ancient woodland under threat from overshading by non-native species.
“The first step in this process is recognising some of the tell-tale features that may remain in these woods and we hope our guidance will help people learn more about this irreplaceable habitat.”
The charity is three years into a five year £2.9m Heritage Lottery Fund project to support the restoration of up to 52,000 hectares of ancient woodland in 10 project areas. So far more than 5,600 hectares have been committed to restoration.
See www.woodlandtrust. org.uk/restoration for more information.