Charity urges farmers to help preserve ancient woodland

Farmers and landowners are being encouraged to help restore ancient woodland (Photo: Woodland Trust)
Farmers and landowners are being encouraged to help restore ancient woodland (Photo: Woodland Trust)

The Woodland Trust will host a series of events for farmers to give them the right skills in preserving ancient woodland on their land.

Ancient woodland - which makes up just 2.5% of the land area of the UK and about a fifth of all woodland - is the country's most precious woodland type.

The Woodland Trust is focusing its efforts on a major £3.6m programme to restore it to good ecological condition.

Now the charity is urging farmers and landowners to help restore ancient woodland after "centuries of damage from mis-management."

Christine Reid, principal conservation adviser at the Woodland Trust: “"Almost 40% of the UK’s ancient woodland has been replanted with dense non-native trees, causing deep shade across the woodland floor.

"Non-native plants like rhododendron, Himalayan balsam and snowberry are also encroaching into our woodlands competing with native plants.

"Restoration is the careful process of removing these threats. "

Funding for the charity’s restoration programme has come from Defra’s Green Recovery Fund which is helping it to deliver the major 15-month project.

It will boost restoration across 447ha of the Woodland Trust estate, including Fingle Woods, Cadora Woods, Pontburn Woods and Joyden's Wood.

And starting this month, the fund will allow it to provide a programme of free events aimed at educating landowners on how to do it too.

Ms Reid added: "This new funding makes a tangible difference to the condition of ancient woods and veteran trees on land owned by the Woodland Trust, the National Trust and private landowners.

"While the Woodland Trust does carry out widespread restoration at its sites, there are lots of landowners with the skills and know how to carry out restoration effectively on their land.”