Bare patch of land turns into a won­der­ful wood

Western Daily Press (Saturday) - - Countryside - Philip Bowern

veg­e­ta­tion threat­ened for a time to take over. But now some of the taller trees have re­ally got away and the shade they cre­ate has helped to thwart the growth be­neath. What it needs now is some se­ri­ous man­age­ment. Some trees prob­a­bly need to be sac­ri­ficed to al­low the true spec­i­mens to thrive.

But the over­all ef­fect is spec­tac­u­lar. And the wide mix­ture of species, in­clud­ing berry and seed-bear­ing trees that were planted, makes it a haven for birds too.

I have seen cuck­oos in the early sum­mer and huge flocks of long­tailed tits in Fe­bru­ary flit­ting through the canopy.

A spar­rowhawk hunts the rides that have, lat­terly, been cut through the thick un­der­storey and roe deer hide in the bracken at the edges of the most heav­ily wooded parts.

Cre­at­ing this patch of new wood­land, which sits along­side some gen­uine an­cient tree cover, full of big old oaks, was a labour of love for the landowner, a lady no longer with us sadly, who did much of the back­break­ing plant­ing her­self and lived to see most of her saplings grow. She will, of course, be de­nied the chance to see a true for­est cre­ated from her ef­forts, but that’s the na­ture of plant­ing trees – you do it for the gen­er­a­tions that come af­ter you, not for your­self.

The dog walk­ers and oth­ers who en­joy this area to­day have been given a far more di­verse land­scape to en­joy than would have been the case with­out that landowner’s vi­sion and hard work. We need more like her.

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