Why wood’s going native

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Concerns about the felling of trees in a wood near Rugby have been allayed by those who look after the site.

Community group Friends of Brandon Wood has been criticised by some for removing healthy and attractive Corsican pines. Various comments that question the decision have been left on the group’s website.

But woodland manager Andrew Ireland insists that such work is necessary as part of a plan to introduce more native trees.

He said: “It will take some time, but it will be worthwhile.”

The woodland area surrounding Binley Woods and Brandon was bought for the community in 2000 following a threat to sell off the land for development. It had been managed by the Forestry Comission.

Since then, the plan has been to restore the wood to its original condition, with more broadleaf trees. Mr Ireland claims this requires the removal of the foreign Corsican pine planted by the Forestry Commission.

He said: “Introducing more native trees will encourage more wildlife into the wood such as butterflies, insects and wild birds.”

Friends of Brandon Wood says the Forestry Commission had removed broadleaf trees to harvest for profit, replacing them with the Corsican pine which they could harvest in a shorter time as a source of revenue.

Beryl Smith, director of Friends of Brandon Wood, said: “We are committed to creating a wildwood for the community and a haven where wildlife is free to flourish and visitors want to roam.

“It is essential that we keep people in the loop on the changes, we send out a newsletter explaining everything that is happening.”

The group also states that that such work is also necessary to control and eliminate ash dieback disease.

The fungus is regarded as a serious threat to Britain’s population of ash trees, which are the dominant species in many woods, with significant knock-on effects likely for insects and wild animals.

The group is looking for volunteers to assist with ongoing work within the wood.

Mr Ireland said: “Anyone with woodland skills or anyone who would like to offer their services would be most welcome.”

Anyone wishing to volunteer should contact Mr Ireland on 03301239215 or e-mail andrew.ireland2@talktalk.net