03 Mar Essex’s historic woodlands in line for major facelift
Essex’s historic and culturally significant woodlands are to benefit from a wide range of improvements as part of a five-year plan agreed with Natural England and The Forestry Commission.
Without active conservation, including some selective felling, ancient woods can lose some of the special wildlife that require open sunny glades, and paths can become overgrown and potentially a risk to the public.
Councillor Simon Walsh, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “As well as their special appearance, Essex’s woodlands support wildlife and nature from ancient oak trees, carpets of bluebells, to microscopic fungi.
Felling some of the trees in a managed way will enable us to conserve and enhance the cultural and environmental features of the woodlands as well as maintaining safe access for members of the public.”
Place Services is working closely with Essex County Council’s Country parks and The Conservation Volunteers to manage the project in an environmentally and financially sustainable way.
The woodland management will be carried out in a traditional manner with thinned and coppiced timber extracted using heavy horses. This is the preferred method for ancient woodland sites compared with the use of modern forestry machinery.
Work has commenced at Garnett’s Wood, near Great Dunmow and Thorndon Park in Brentwood. Over the five years the project will extend to cover 293 hectares of woodlands at 15 locations throughout the county.