Assisting Woodland Expansion
A vital part of our new Cree Valley Woodland Heritage project is the further expansion of native woodland, especially in areas which were formally wooded but lost in the 20th century when the race to produce a reliable UK supply of timber saw a great expansion in the planting of rapid growing conifers, often at the expense of native broad-leaved tree species.
One such area is Knockman Wood. In the middle section of the wood, the conifer were all removed in 2003, but since then little regeneration of trees has been evident even though there are ample sources of seed bearing trees nearby. Transect surveys carried out by CVCWT volunteers last year revealed very little regeneration and what little there was, even the conifer, was being badly damaged by deer browsing. The resident herd of introduced Fallow Deer are particularly destructive.
Therefore, to aid the regeneration process, CVCWT volunteers have been planting several species of native trees in Knockman including oak, birch, hawthorn and rowan. The oaks and birch have been grown by CVCWT at their tree nursery and the hawthorn and rowan are free trees from E- Forests which are part of the carbon offsetting scheme. Some of the trees have been planted in tree protectors and the birch were larger specimens which should be able to withstand a certain amount of browsing.
The old stumps of the felled oaks can still be found and the native woodland ground flora still exists in some parts, and it encourages us to think that one day, the native woodland will stand here again.