At the eastern end of Cod Wood the National Trust volunteers are hard at work. On a sunny September morning the latest phase of the Fingle Woods restoration is underway with two new sets of gates and half a mile of stock-proof fencing being built. After weeks of work, volunteers John, Steve and Dennis with team leader Dylan are fixing straining posts in position before the wire netting is tensioned between them to create a new enclosure. But what is it for?
With sensitive habitat management, a wildflower meadow is being re-established that existed here long before the conifer timber woodland was planted during the last century. An area of dense scrub has been cleared and great care has been taken not to disrupt the resident dormice. They are happily nesting in new boxes in an adjacent woodland margin. The newly fenced meadow will become the occasional home to a small herd of cattle that will graze away tree shoots and encourage a sweetly scented, colourful and diverse invertebrate sanctuary to grow.
This is a great example of long term habitat management on a landscape scale and visitors are welcome. The National Trust volunteers’ new gates will not only keep the livestock in but will provide access for walkers who would like to take a closer look at this wildlife transformation in progress.
words and pictures: Matt Parkins