A partnership between the Woodland Trust and the National Trust

The Larch Effect

A sunny start to the day brought a large group of volunteers out to Fingle Woods on Saturday. A mobile workshop was set up outside the shed at Clifford Hill with six work benches being used to convert a stack of sawn timber into a set of 50 nest boxes. The volunteers split into groups to screw the wooden components together, creating some safe nesting spaces for Fingle’s dormice.

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Volunteer teams at work in the sun

Lorraine proudly displays her handiwork (photo DR)

Lorraine proudly displays her handiwork (photo Dave Rickwood)

Once the boxes were all built they were taken to the top of Hall’s Cleave to be set up among the small oak trees and shrubs left behind after last winter’s large scale clear fell of larch. The felling of the larch was necessary to restrict the spread of the plant disease Phytophthora ramorum and, though the contractors did a good job of restricting damage to the ecosystem, the sudden change to the woodland could prove to be challenging for the wild residents to cope with. This batch of boxes were being installed to provide extra nesting opportunities in the altered landscape, going some way to mitigate the effect of the clear felled larch.

50 nest boxes ready to go (photo DR)

50 nest boxes ready to go (photo Dave Rickwood)

During the day the volunteers also had the chance to learn how to set up nest tubes that will be used to monitor whether the dormice will build nests among the conifers at the edge of Cod Wood.

by Matt Parkins

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