Woodland ‘with a difference’ rooted in preserving plant life

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FROM the ground up is the ethos of the owners of a brand-new community woodland.

What was arable land is being transformed into a 25-acre wood, at Escrick, near York, which will eventually feature 10,000 native broadleaf species, oak, hazel, lime and cherry.

But as much attention is being paid to the plants that will thrive in the dappled shade of the trees.

Rosalind Forbes Adam, the chair of Hagge Woods Trust, who designed and master-minded the Three Hagges Jubilee Wood with her son Beilby, wants it to be a woodland, with wood anenomes, bluebells and orchids, where people can picnic and forage for wild strawberries, without being brambled or nettled.

She said: “This will be a wood with a difference.

“The problem with most new woodlands is that the focus is very much on the tree planting and little thought goes into managing the diversity of plant life on the ground, the basis of the eco-system.

“I want to make sure it is not only a beautiful place for residents to visit but supports a diverse range of wildlife, which is why every species of plant has been selected for its value to birds, small mammals, bees, butterflies and other wildlife.”

The wet weather last year held up planting but 1,000 trees were planted in December, with the rest to go in by the end of this year.

Biologist Lin Hawthorne said: “We aim to create a haven for many species of wildflower that have become endangered during the last century; between 60 and 65 per cent of wood and grassland flowers have declined in the past 60 years.”

The wood, created in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebration, will be managed by Hagge Woods Trust, which is now a registered charity.

It forms part of Escrick Park estate, which has offered a 35-year rent free lease to the trust.

The trust is looking for volunteers to help with planting, weeding, tree care, woodland walks and wildlife workshops.