Woodland Work to Protect Rare Species

Wednesday 7th September 2016

Vital forestry work to restore and enhance important habitats to help protect rare species is about to begin in Surrey - and local people are invited to a special drop-in session to find out more.

We will be thinning trees as part of a careful plan to restore and conserve this incredibly important habitat

The forestry operations planned for this winter on Whitmoor Common, near Worplesdon, are aimed at conserving and improving habitats for rare birds, reptiles, small mammals, insects and plants. The work is being organised by Surrey Wildlife Trust, which manages the land on behalf of Surrey County Council.

We will be thinning trees as part of a careful plan to restore and conserve this incredibly important habitat, which will allow rare species to live and thrive in Surrey now and in the future,” said Charlotte Williams, the Trust’s Area Countryside Manager. “We will be liaising with local residents, local organisations and key stakeholders before the works begin to answer any questions.

Whitmoor Common is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) because of its nationally important lowland heathland habitat. It provides a vital breeding ground for protected birds such as nightjar and woodlark. Unusual species of spider and beetle have been found on the common, which also boasts the rare window winged caddisfly and many species of damsel and dragonflies.

The work will deliver targets within the ‘Higher Level Stewardship’ agreement, which is funded by Natural England. This will involve thinning broadleaf woodland, which will open up the area, breathing new life into the forest and protecting important lowland heathland habitat. Some small areas of pine plantation will be felled, but specimen trees will be kept as perches for birds of prey and as landscape features. These areas will then be managed as broadleaf woodland in the future.

Forestry work is due to start in October this year and finish by February 2017. Contractors will be on site Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm but weather and daylight will dictate operating hours.

We will do our best to minimise disruption to local residents while this vital forestry work goes on,” added Charlotte. “We will be surveying the access routes used by the forestry operators beforehand and once the logging lorries have left, we will work to ensure the road is in the same or better condition.

The work is part of the Trust’s legal commitment to conserve and enhance the land for wildlife, under environmental agreements with the UK Government. All licences and permissions for the forestry work have been applied for and granted by the Forestry Commission and Natural England.

The public is invited to attend an informal session to find out more about the Trust’s plans on Wednesday 14th September from 2.30pm to 6pm on area of Common opposite the Jolly Farmer pub in Burdenshot Road, Whitmoor Common. Representatives from Surrey Wildlife Trust and Penfold’s Woodland Management, which is working on behalf of the Trust, will also be available to answer questions.

Notices will also be erected on site with relevant contact details and the information boards will be regularly updated to inform members of the public and visitors of the forestry operations.

Tagged with: Living Landscapes, Conservation, HLS, SSSI, Trees, Whitmoor Common