An­cient woods ‘cru­cial’

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Countryfile - by Mike Ben­nett mben­nett@thek­m­

KEY find­ings from a sur­vey looking at Ash­ford’s an­cient wood­land have been pre­sented at Sin­gle­ton En­vi­ron­ment Cen­tre. Speak­ers in­cluded rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil, Nat­u­ral Eng­land, the Forestry Com­mis­sion and BTCV (Bri­tish Trust for Con­ser­va­tion Vol­un­teers). Coun­cil leader Paul Clokie, said that the pub­li­ca­tion of the sur­vey was timely in view of the need to un­der­stand and safe­guard Ash­ford’s rich her­itage of an­cient wood­land for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions at a time of in­tense de­vel­op­ment. An­cient wood­lands are widely recog­nised as be­ing ir­re­place­able habi­tats and lo­cal au­thor­i­ties have a key role to play in pro­tect­ing this unique re­source. They are re­quired to iden­tify any ar­eas of an­cient wood­land that do not have statu­tory pro­tec­tion. Ash­ford bor­ough is one of the most heav­ily wooded land­scapes in the coun­try, with more than two thirds of its wood­land classified as an­cient.

From left, Vir­ginia Hodge, BTCV, Cllr Paul Clokie, leader of Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil, Pa­trick McKer­nan, the Forestry Com­mis­sion/Nat­u­ral Eng­land, Sally Marsh, joint di­rec­tor High Weald AONB Unit, Alan Betts, re­gional di­rec­tor South East Eng­land Forestry Com­mis­sion and Philip San­sum, the High Weald AONB Unit

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