Although there was a huge amount of wildlife already present within our woodland, our objective has always been to enhance, create and manage the varying habitats for optimum biodiversity.
This will be a fine balancing act because we do not wish to detract from current habitat.
This blog planting for wildlife will be devoted to what, where and why we have planted certain species.
On the adjoining Devon bank running North to South there are numerous large Beech trees with a couple of Oak in between.
The bank itself was overrun with bramble, self seeded Douglas Fir, Beech, Holly and Wood Sage.
This 20 meter stretch was cleared and planted in November 2018.
It is a naturally dry bank with a high percentage of clay so it was always going to be a challenge for it to establish and retain moisture given the dense overhead canopy of Beech.
We have supplemented the watering a couple of times this summer to help it on its way. In the pictures you will see we have also spread a mulch over the bank to aid moisture retention, this was the product of shredding the young felled Sitka last winter.
The hedging consists of, Crab Apple, Dog Rose, Dog Wood, Oak, Field Maple, Hazel, Blackthorn and Hawthorn.
Other than Oak and Hazel all are new species to our woodland and will provide a new food source and habitat once established.
Recently we have provided protection with some meshing as some saplings have been grazed, but hopefully this will now allow them to grow unhindered.
More hedging of this nature is planned, possibly an additional 100 metres will be ideal.
TREES WE HAVE PLANTED
We also planted a few Scots Pine, some didn’t make it through the summer but a few have taken quite well.
We wanted to introduce some Scots Pine because not only are they a fantastic tree they do score highly on the biodiversity scale providing habitat for a large amount of species, far more than most pines.
We have planted some Rowan and Wild Cherry, again a species not present before our ownership. These have grown well and most have easily exceeded the 1.2mtr tubex shelters. These will provide fruit, blossom and berries and be a welcome food source.
The area we cleared for the ponds involved digging out some young Birch.
We did manage to save and replant these young Birch once the ponds were constructed.
Other ideas for the future will be to plant some willow, hopefully to crop on rotation for a sustainable timber source whilst at the same time providing a haven for wildlife.
We will also be sowing some Stinging Nettle seeds as our woodland does not have any. This plant is a great food source for Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock butterflies and it also provides a seed source for birds. We will incorporate the Nettles into the edges of the rides and glades in different locations.
More Yellow Rattle seed will be scattered around the ride edges before winter sets in, ideally they should be on the ground now but we have not cleared the areas as yet.
Another idea is to intruduce a woodland variety of Apple of which there are many varieties to choose from.