Woodland project gets under way

By James HoreTHE site manager of an ambitious Woodland Trust project in East Anglia has spoken of his excitement as work on the scheme gets under way.

By James Hore

THE site manager of an ambitious Woodland Trust project in East Anglia has spoken of his excitement as work on the scheme gets under way.

The 500-acre scheme, which aims to help reverse the declining amount of tree cover in East Anglia, while creating a natural habitat which generations of people will be able to enjoy, was officially launched yesterday.

The trust was gifted £1.1million of arable land in Fordham, near Colchester, and this is now set to become the largest new area of woodland in East Anglia.

As the project was launched, conservationist and former EastEnders star Ross Kemp gave it his backing.

“Intensive farming, road building and housing development continue to eat up the countryside, leaving little or no room for wildlife,” he said.

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“It's time to make a stand and halt this decline. That's exactly what the Woodland Trust is doing at Fordham.”

Site manager Geoff Sinclair said wildlife would benefit at Fordham Wood as soon as the project began.

“This is very exciting and the sort of thing where there is so much to come. We are lucky because we already have the river and some established habitats,” he added.

“It will be great to work with experts in their field to achieve this. This area has probably not changed greatly in the last 1,000 years, so we are changing things quite fundamentally here. Hopefully, the animals will vote with their feet and it will be a success.”

Simon Leatherdale, of the Forestry Commission, said the project would help to play a vital role helping the under-threat creatures, such as bats.

“Habitat destruction, loft conversions, grubbing-up of hedges and the use of insecticides are just some of the factors which have led to decreasing numbers of bats,” he added.

“This will be an opportunity to put the missing habitat back again and help stop bats in the area from petering out.”

The Woodland Trust hopes the public will raise £75,000 to complete the £500,000 project - an appeal which the East Anglian Daily Times is supporting.

Mike Townsend, chief executive of the Woodland Trust, said: “This will be the largest new woodland project in the region.

“As well as creating a fantastic haven for wildlife, it will give the opportunity for thousands of children to be involved in tree planting - helping to shape the future of the environment in which they and their children will live.”

It is hoped within relatively short space of time there will be nesting birds, mice, voles and butterflies to reclaim the land.

The land almost totally encircles the village of Fordham and children from across East Anglia will be encouraged to get involved in tree planting schemes - letting them play a part in the future.


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