Work to enhance the quality of wild habitats around Fingle Woods continues in all weathers this January. Getting the balance right between protecting sensitive fragments of ancient woodland and using efficient forestry machinery can be challenging, but it’s a challenge that is being relished by the restoration team.
A depleted hazel hedge beside a track near Clifford Cottages has been standing in the shade of the close-packed conifers for many years and has suffered in the darkness, becoming thin and gappy. The remnant hedge was layed last month to revitalise it with fresh summer growth. Hedge laying is a typical winter job during the dormant period of the year and, over the coming years, will help to maintain diversity and save an important connective wildlife corridor.
Now the harvester can work around the hedge, taking the edge off the conifer plantation and increasing the sunlight to the hedge and the rest of the woodland. New shoots will appear in the spring when the sparse winter appearance will turn fresh and green.
Carefully planned woodland conservation and forestry operations are working side by side all round Fingle Woods.
Words and pictures by Matt Parkins