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Work continues on woodland at Hardcastle Crags

Monday, 18 January 2021

Press release from the National Trust

Thousands of new trees will be planted to help create a healthier woodland

National Trust rangers and volunteers have started on this year’s tree planting season at Hardcastle Crags, as part of big changes in the woodland which will benefit nature and people living in the valleys below. In total, 4000 new trees will be planted in the woodland, including rowan, oak, birch, hawthorn and blackthorn.

Contractors will be working to fell trees throughout Hardcastle Crags over the next few months.

The work, which is part of the woodland management plan, will see some beech trees felled, with some remaining as monoliths, to allow more light to reach the woodland floor.

By thinning branches and removing some trees, this will encourage more plants, like bluebells, to grow on the woodland floor. This will slow the flow of water in the valley, which will reduce flood risk. Many branches will be left in place below the trees. Not only does this ‘brash’ help slow water run-off, it is also an ideal nesting and feeding spot for woodland birds.

National Trust rangers will also be carrying out tree safety inspections. Some unhealthy ash trees have already had to be felled as a result of ash dieback, including one close to the famous stepping-stones near Gibson Mill.

National Trust ranger, Natalie Pownall, said, “We’ve noticed an increase in wildlife in areas where thinning has already taken place. Butterflies and insects have done really well in places where we’ve left brash piles behind, and birds have been nesting in monolith tree trunks.”

Craig Best, countryside manager for the National Trust, said, “We’re excited that our woodland management project is well under way. The work will see some trees felled but thousands will be planted in their place. We understand that some people have concerns about felling trees, but our work has been carefully researched to ensure we deliver the best possible outcome for nature, climate resiliance and reducing tree disease.

The woodland management plan has been approved by the Forestry Commission and Calderdale Council. The new native trees will help diversify the woodland, bringing a huge benefit to wildlife.”

For more details about our work, visit the Hardcastle Crags on the The National Trust Website.

See also:

HebWeb Forum: Tree Felling

HebWeb Forum: Pecket Well Clough destructions