26th Jun, 2022

Warwickshire woodlands to be better protected under new management plan

WOODLANDS in Warwickshire – one of the least-wooded areas in Europe – will be better protected for wildlife and people thanks to a new strategy being adopted by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust (WWT).

The trust’s new ten-year woodland management plan, already in place at 12 woodlands including Snitterfield Bushes near Stratford, is being introduced at Ryton Woods near Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Clowes Wood near Solihull, and Oakley Woods near Leamington.

Under the new strategy, the trust helps secure the long-term future of woodlands by actively managing them and their wildlife habitats.

Through cyclical felling, thinning and coppicing, the trust creates woodlands with trees of different ages and varied structures which attract a bigger range of wildlife and are more resilient to pests, diseases and climate change.

A WWT spokesperson said: “Warwickshire is among the least wooded counties in the UK, which in turn is one of the least wooded countries in Europe. This makes Warwickshire’s woodlands precious and important within the landscape.

“Woodlands have been essential to people for thousands of years, used for timber, fuel and shelter, and more recently for public recreation as well.

“We know woodlands play an important role in securing carbon, purifying the air we breathe and also helping to prevent flooding.”

At Snitterfield Bushes, the focus will be on thinning out ash trees in favour of alternative species because of the disease ash dieback, which has been devastating ash trees throughout the country.

The trust is removing potentially hazardous roadside trees and thinning woodland blocks in favour of alternative native species, which should add some resilience to the woodland and provide long-term protection for wildlife and people.

At Oakley Wood, the trust will work with the woodland’s owners Warwick District Council over a ten year period to replace conifers with native species.

After the Second World War, Oakley Wood was cleared and replanted with non-native conifers to remedy timber shortages – meaning the woodland is all of the same age and therefore of limited use to wildlife, which benefits from a more diverse selection of native trees.

Work at Ryton Woods and Clowes Wood will focus on improving the structure of the woodland – some areas of which are suffering from a closed canopy due to a lack of management in recent decades.

This means some threatened and rare species which require a varied structure and differing levels of light and micro-climates are in danger of being squeezed out, and could prevent the next generation of trees from coming through.

Any areas which are disturbed will be repaired before works are completed by March, before the bird nesting season begins.

Visit https://tinyurl.com/y3erjrvn for more information.

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