The planting area was once used for growing maize, but heavy rains and constant ploughing resulted in the ground becoming waterlogged, leading to soil erosion and nutrient runoff.
The planting will transform the degraded farmland into a native, mixed broadleaf copse that links into the surrounding habitats. A small stream with a network of ponds surrounded by scrubby woodland runs to the north. The new copse will almost double the area of the existing woodland and further help to improve the local water and soil quality, as well as providing a new habitat for wildlife. By connecting the fragmented habitats, the planting has the potential to bolster the local landscape’s resilience to threats such as climate change, as the habitat becomes bigger, better and more joined up. The woodland will also boost the delivery of localised ecosystem services. The trees will lock up carbon as they grow, improve local water quality and water retention as their roots absorb and filter rainwater, increase the soil fertility as their leaves fall, adding to the organic matter, replenishing the lost soil quality.
The woodland will also be managed to provide a long-term sustainable supply of timber. Regular thinning of the trees will ensure the parents are constantly making way for their children, creating a diverse mix of tree species at varying ages. The ongoing management will also maintain the woodland’s other habitats such as open glades and paths which are often wildlife hotspots as they can support a mix of both wooded and non-wood flora. Designed to have 4 separate compartments, divided by grassy paths with herbaceous edges; the new woodland will incorporate 20 different native trees species, all of which provide different wildlife benefits.