It is now looking for woodland owners to make small changes to how they manage their woodland, and make a big difference to the protection of this irreplaceable habitat.
The Woodland Trust would like to work with private woodland owners to restore areas of ancient woodland affected by the presence of non-native or invasive species, such as plantation conifers or rhododendron respectively. The charity is offering advice and support to help people re-establish habitats affected by such planting so the conditions for species that rely on ancient woodland to survive can be strengthened and conserved for future generations.
Ancient woodland is the richest land habitat for wildlife in the UK that has evolved over many centuries. Its irreplaceable characteristics are identified by specialist species of plants, fungi and insects that are rarely found in younger woods.
Unfortunately much of this has been degraded over the years, and now ancient woodland covers just two per cent of the UK’s landmass. The Woodland Trust hopes to protect and restore existing and damaged ancient woodland by working with landowners across the UK and assisting them to carry out sympathetic restoration programs.
This project has been launched after the Woodland Trust was awarded £1.9m from the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore 52,000 hectares of ancient woodland in ten regions across the UK, ranging from Surrey to Scotland.
Peter and Brenda Tebby are currently restoring areas of their 44 acre woodland complex in Newdigate, Surrey. Peter said: “Knowing we are helping protect and restore a fragment of ancient woodland means a great deal to us. We were complete novices before we started but it hasn’t held us back. We’re lucky to have excellent support from family, friends and neighbours as well professional organisations, and our partnership with a local sustainable energy company provides a useful income from thinnings gathered during our work.”
Dean Kirkland, the Woodland Trust’s Ancient Woodland Restoration Operations Manager, said: “The productive use of land is an essential part of a sustainable future – but so too is the protection of irreplaceable elements that have formed its cultural and biological inheritance. As part of this project, we hope to bring a priceless part of our natural heritage back to life whilst building in resilience for the future.”
Mr Tebby continued: “With the right advice and guidance, a project like this is not just possible, it’s positively enjoyable – especially when you see nature responding and life returning to the areas you’ve worked on.”
Landowners who would like to restore their own woodland, can contact the Woodland Trust by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Woodland Trust