Volunteers help improve Forder Valley woodland

Volunteers and staff from Poole Farm have been helping to improve areas of woodland within the Forder Valley Local Nature Reserve, as part of the project to build the new Forder Valley Link Road.

Some of the woodland within the reserve is in poor condition and some areas have little forest canopy, so as part of the environmental plan for the scheme, work is being carried out to bring it up to a good standard over the next four to five years.

The volunteers have been working alongside a team from the Council, developing their woodland management skills, including tree coppicing, creating new hedges from the material removed and planting native trees and whips.

Young whips are a tasty treat for deer so to help protect them, the teams have been creating small tracks within the brambles and planting them there. This is a more natural and cost-effective option than installing metal guards. 

The recent improvements have been focussed on the west side of the reserve (near Fort Austin Crescent), with further coppicing and tree planting planned closer to Forder Valley Road in the winter.

The works are part of a £1.3 million package of measures to offset the environmental impact of the scheme and help create better spaces for wildlife to thrive. It’s aimed at getting greener as we grow. 

Councillor Sue Dann, Cabinet Member for Environment and Street Scene, said: “Care for the environment is a really important priority for the scheme and it’s great to see volunteers working with our teams to improve these woodland areas and the essential wildlife habitats they provide.

“They are not only helping to protect and enhance the nature reserve but also getting a chance to learn about woodland management techniques and develop their skills.”

Around 14,500 trees are being planted in the Forder Valley and hedgerows, grasslands and woodlands are being improved to create better local wildlife habitats and achieve a ‘positive gain for biodiversity’. Our policy is to always plant more trees than we take out. 

Part of the funding has been set aside for ongoing monitoring and care over a 20-year period, to ensure these sites become well-established and flourish.