Beauty-spot tree felling ‘to improve habitats and views’

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A WOODLAND management programme is being put into action to make improvements on a popular National Trust estate.

Staff and volunteers at Hardcastle Crags, near Hebden Bridge, will carry out a series of improvements over the winter to restore wildlife habitats and improve views for visitors.

Plans include selective felling of non-native trees and thinning of larch and pine plantations on the estate which also includes Gibson Mill. Many trees were planted 130 years ago and are reaching the end of their natural lifespans.

The work will help species like the hairy wood ant by creating open glades that will enable them to build new nests. The plan also looks to provide open areas for bats to forage while creating better nesting habitats for birds.

Nabil Abbas, countryside manager at Hardcastle Crags, said: “Felling allows the natural regeneration of native trees and will help restore the natural balance of the woodland that underwent intensive artificial planting during the 19th century.

“Removal of individual trees will also encourage more wildflowers to grow, helping the many species of wildlife at the estate and also means that we can remove dead and diseased trees which could potentially pose a danger to our visitors.

“We are also very proud to say that Gibson Mill is sustainably powered – currently surplus wood is used to provide heating and hot water.”

Heavy timber will be hauled by horse logger Peter Coates and his Clydesdale Nathan. It is hoped local businesses will use felled timber to build bird boxes and play equipment.