A plan that has come to fruition

Back in December 2015 I did an article called Clear Felling Croft Wood; this was part of a long term plan for the restoration of the woods at Croft. The initial proposal for this work was set out in 2010. The proposal was I believe based upon the documentary evidence and field research that indicated that much of the parkland had in the past been woodland pasture. The indications are that there was wood pasture across much of the area of Croft Parkland and the Ambrey throughout the 18th & 19th centuries and probably much earlier.

The project has progressed considerably since 2015. Cattle can now be seen grazing up on the Ambery, in Croft Wood and in Lady Acre; this is due to the extensive stock fencing and the water system that has been installed. The project also includes a far greater number of compartments that protect what must now be a couple of thousand native tree species which we have planted and now maintain by going into the compartments and cutting down the bracken, thistles and nettles that might otherwise choke the saplings.

Cattle on the edge of the wood pasture seeking shaded in high summer.

The presence of the cattle is already beginning to make a difference as the area around the compartments is less over grown than it is inside the compartments where the cattle can’t go.
The long term benefits are yet to be seen but I hope that I will be around to see the ecology of this ancient landscape alter to support a different range of wildlife that existed beneath the canopy of the coniferous plantation that it has replaced.

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John Parsons