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Restoring ancient woodland at Itchen Valley Country Park

Large-scale forestry works to restore ancient woodland at Itchen Valley Country Park get under way this week.

Page last updated at 29 August 2017 at 13:42

Works to restore ancient woodland at Itchen Valley Country Park

The works will focus on the removal of mature conifers that were planted by the Forestry Commission in the 1960s with the intention of being harvested for timber.

The trees’ removal will open up the ancient woodland allowing native, broad-leaved deciduous species to thrive and return the area to the condition it was in before the pines were planted. More light will reach the forest floor, creating excellent conditions for wildflowers and insects, such as the rare silver washed fritillary butterfly (pictured) which has been recorded at the park. The work is timely as a number of pines are affected by a disease that can cause them to become unstable, presenting a potential safety risk.

The works, which are approved by the Forestry Commission, are expected to take around two months and individual areas of the park will be closed off temporarily   

For most of the two-month period, at least 90 per cent of the park will be open at any one time (however, full closure of the park for occasional individual days, to allow the safe operation of the heavy machinery, may be necessary and as much notice as possible will be given). 

More detailed information is available on the Itchen Valley pages of the website.