As the winter months draw in, the National Trust rangers turn their focus to the continuing major task of landscape scale tree planting at their heathland conservation site at Foxbury.
The project is part of a £2.89 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant for the ‘Our Past, Our Future’ Landscape Partnership Scheme , which aims to protect the New Forest’s heritage and wildlife for the future
Foxbury, near East Wellow, has seen dramatic changes over the last few years and more are set to change the landscapes once again. The ranger team have set ambitious plans to plant 26 hectares of native broadleaf woodland, a total of 22,000 trees by 2019. Last season NT rangers and volunteers planted over 4,000 trees.
Catherine Supple, the Area Ranger is leading the planting project and said: ‘We already know that the site used to hold native woodland, due to the presence of indicator flora such as Wood Spurge, Bluebells, Violets and Primrose. Our aim is to re-create naturally diverse woodland across the Southern and Eastern compartments of the site, to diversify Foxbury as a whole and create habitat for a wider array of species.
‘Sessile Oak, Common Alder and Sweet Chestnut are the main species selected for the area and at the end of the 5 years of planting Foxbury will be approximately 40% woodland and 60% heathland. Native Oak has the highest wildlife value of all of our British trees, It will support over 280 species of insect, which in turn supply many birds with an important food source. Alder grows really well in wet conditions and the Sweet chestnut is native to the site and ideal for coppicing.
‘We have planned a network of open woodland tracks which will provide more light and space for woodland flora, and attract even more butterfly species that already flourish here.’
The team will be out in force with their regular volunteers from the community, but are keen to extend the invitation wider.
Catherine said: ‘It’s an ambitious goal but many hands make light work. We are keen to reach 5,940 trees planted this winter, starting in December and we would love for others to drop in on the planting days and get involved. It’s a great way to make your mark on the landscape.’
The first date in the diary is Sunday 6th December. All three community planting dates are advertised via the National Trust New Forest website events page at nationaltrust.org.uk/newforest.
New Forest Northern Commons
The Walled Garden, Burgate Manor, Fordingbridge, Hampshire, SP6 1EF
Office: 01425 650035