Good morning tree huggers, today I would like to brag a little about the conservation volunteers achievements in millennium wood. Over the last two weeks the ConVols have been working thinning trees in the woodland. This may look to some as a strange way to manage a woodland. Unfortunately when these woodlands were planted around 16 years ago the trees were planted far too close together, this is done to help suppress the undergrowth and allow the tree whips to grow, it also gives wind protection to the trees. However once the woodland starts to mature it soon becomes clear that some trees are doing well while others struggle. It also creates a single canopy throughout the woodland blocking light to the floor. It also discourages wildlife from occupying the woodland simply because it is dark, cold and damp. Let’s face it we would not like to live in those conditions. It is for these reasons woodland is cleared, to allow light through the woodland canopy to encourage undergrowth, to create a canopy of different heights and to allow air into the wood in order to dry it out. The ConVols have over the last few years been slowly thinning this small woodland and over the next few winters we will continue the thinning process and plant new varieties of plants, shrubs and trees. This will create easier access for the birds and a greater variety of nesting/feeding spots. Even now the difference to the ground flora/fauna is astounding, grasses are starting to come through the woodland is drying out and it is no longer a dark damp habitat.

Next week the ConVols will be working on Raindcliffe Meadow planting an intermittent hedge, this is being done not to create a boundary but to allow a greater variety of habitats and to encourage new hedgerow species. The ConVols will monitor the newly planted hedging and in a few years time when the hedge is mature the volunteers intend to lay the hedge down in a variety of regional styles. The volunteers are also expecting a delivery (large) of chippings these will be laid in the main gate to help keep it dry and to provide an easy/welcoming entrance to the meadow. In the next few months the volunteers will continue to develop the small picnic area, providing seats, tables and bird feeding stations. We will continue the thinning process in the Arboretum stand and plan our planting.