Published: Tuesday, 31st August 2021

Work is continuing this autumn at Oakley Wood to promote the establishment of native broadleaved trees as part of a 10-year woodland management plan, in partnership with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.

Similar to works undertaken in 2020, a third of the trees will be removed across specific areas and several 30-metre clearings will be created. These openings in the tree canopy will provide light and space for native trees to grow. The natural growth of native trees will be supplemented by increased tree planting in the wood which will begin this winter.

The larger scale work will be achieved by contractors and whilst woodland management can appear destructive, the woodland soon recovers. The works are due to start in September but will be dependent on weather and ground conditions. During these works the contractors will avoid using the path network wherever possible and any areas that are disturbed will be repaired before works are completed, which are due to end before the bird nesting season begins.

Councillor Alan Rhead, Portfolio Holder for Climate Change, said: “One of the biggest threats to our woodlands is the decision not to manage them. Sustainable woodland management and actively managing wildlife habitats for biodiversity can help secure the long-term future of woodlands. 

“Trees of different ages and varied structures due to cyclical felling, thinning and coppicing will attract a bigger range of wildlife, and will also be more resilient to pests, diseases and climate change. With the support of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and the Friends of Oakley Wood, we are returning Oakley Wood to a natural habitat for wildlife to thrive.

"I am aware of the concerns expressed by regular users about the condition the Wood was left in after the last round of work; consequently, I will be liaising closely with the managers to ensure that this next round of work leaves the Wood as the pleasant recreational location enjoyed by so many of our residents."

The Director of Reserves and Community Engagement at Warwickshire Wildlife, Karl Curtis, added: “Warwickshire is among the least wooded counties in the UK, which in turn is one of the least wooded countries in Europe.

“This makes Warwickshire’s woodlands precious and important within the landscape. Woodlands have been essential to people for thousands of years, used for timber, fuel and shelter, and more recently for public recreation as well. We know woodlands play an important role in securing carbon, purifying the air we breathe and helping to prevent flooding.

“We are committed to making these woodlands better protected for wildlife and people, more resilient to change and sustainably managed.”

Locals can get involved in their local woodlands by volunteering with the Trust, and the charity aims to provide positive opportunity and continued access for local people through their woodland management, making them healthy and vibrant places for both people and wildlife.

The other large woodlands looked after by the Trust will see management in subsequent years as the plans progress.

Oakley Wood signpost

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