1st Mar, 2021

Joint project underway to restore woodland in Leamington

WOODLAND in Leamington has received a welcome boost thanks to a restoration project.

Earlier this year the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and Warwick District Council began a joint management programme to provide the district’s woodlands with better protection for wildlife, resilience to change and sustainability.

The first phase of the ten-year project has seen the start of restoration at Oakley Woods to help establish more native broadleaved trees. The initial work, supported by the Friends of Oakley Wood, included the removal of around one third of the conifer trees which were planted following World War II following a timber shortage. The 30 metre clearings aim to provide light and space for native trees to grow. Over the winter months the natural growth of the existing trees will be supplemented by further tree planting.

Warwickshire Wildlife Trust spokesman Karl Curtis said: “Warwickshire is among the least wooded counties in the UK, which makes the woodlands in this district precious not only in terms of the landscape, but also for the role they play in securing carbon, purifying the air we breathe and prevention of flooding. Working alongside Warwick District Council the Trust are advocates for sustainable woodland management and protecting and encouraging wildlife habitats for biodiversity. One of the biggest threats to our woodlands would be a decision not to manage them, so while the current programme of work may appear destructive, the woodland will soon recover and attract a bigger range of wildlife and gain more resilience to pests, diseases and climate change.”

Warwick district councillor Moira-Ann Grainger added: “This is the start of an important long term strategy to protect and sustain our woodlands. After the Second World War, Oakley Wood was cleared and replanted with non-native conifers to remedy timber shortages. As a result, 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. Therefore, the work we are doing in partnership with the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust will help to restore, enhance and sustain this beautiful woodland for generations to come. During these works the contractors have avoided using the path network wherever possible and any areas that are disturbed will be repaired before works are completed, which will be before the start of the bird nesting season in March.”

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