Worcestershire Wildlife Trust plan to protect ancient trees

by | Feb 11, 2016 | Featured Slider, Latest, News

A project to preserve ancient trees at a nature reserve near Hanbury is set to get underway. The trees, some of which are around 400 years old, are part of Piper’s Hill and Dodderhill Commons nature reserve, also known as Hanbury Woods.

Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, who own the reserve, are set to clear dense patches of bramble to ensure the tree trunks are not smothered.

And it is inviting members of the public to get involved with managing the reserve as part of its Sunday volunteer work party.

James Hitchock, the conservation officer responsible for the reserve, said: “These glorious veteran trees – mainly oak and sweet chestnut– are an important feature of our landscape.

“Not only does Piper’s Hill and Dodderhill Commons contain some of the oldest trees in Worcestershire but it also has one of the highest concentrations of them in the West Midlands.

“We’ve already done quite a lot of work removing young trees from around the veterans; creating space to give them increased access to sunlight and nutrients in the soils.”

The trees at Hanbury Woods grew up in spacious a wood pasture environment, reflected in their wide-spreading branches. Their substantial age makes them an important habitat for insects, fungi, bats and birds.

Mr Hitchock continued: “By removing some of the brambles we also hope to create a few more grassy glades, which will benefit a range of wildlife.

“Brambles are really important for wildlife – from providing pollen to insects to berries for birds and small mammals – so we won’t be removing it completely.

“We’ll actually be leaving a lot of the cut material in situ as both this and dead wood make great habitats for wildlife.”

In addition, the Trust will also be working to protect the extensive root system of a large oak tree in the car park.

“As well as moving the bollards further away from the base of the tree we’ll also be mulching the root system in order to increase the organic matter and help alleviate compaction,” added Mr Hitchock.