Over 1,000 trees have been planted at the Outwoods in Loughborough to help the ancient woodland return to its true and natural historic state.
Charnwood Borough Council which maintains the Outwoods, working alongside the Outwoods Management Committee, has planted the native oak and hazel trees as part of a restoration project to help return the Outwoods back to its former glory of a natural acid oak woodland.
The long-term plan to restore the woodland got underway in 2019 when the Council started to gradually remove non-native coniferous trees in phases.
The second phase of the restoration project was recently completed in November and a total of 1,450 native trees have been planted to replace the non-native conifer trees which were removed.
Community groups, officers and councillors were involved in planting the trees with other native species such as rowan and birch being encouraged to grow back naturally.
Cllr Jonathan Morgan, leader of the Council and a member of the Outwoods Management Committee said: “It’s been great to see lots of volunteers helping to plant trees in areas of the Outwoods where non-native trees have been removed.
“The Outwoods is an incredibly special part of the borough. It is visited by thousands of people each year and we want that to continue for many years to come.
“Two phases of the restoration project have been completed and another phase is due to start later this year. Although this means there will be some more minor disruption, we are committed to carrying out the work as sensitively as possible.
“Ancient woodlands need to be carefully managed and this long-term project is all about ensuring the Outwoods can be enjoyed by future generations.”
The long-term Outwoods restoration project is part of a Countryside Stewardship scheme, run by Natural England and the Forestry Commission, and aims to preserve the ecology and habitats found in the woodland.
The newly planted trees are classed as young saplings and stand between 50-100cm tall.
The recently restored areas of the Outwoods will look similar to a young woodland after around 25 years.
The Outwoods is 110 acres of ancient woodland to the south of Loughborough and is one of the oldest surviving woodland sites in Charnwood.
Responsibility of the Outwoods lies with the Outwoods Management Committee which is a separate body to the Council. However, the Council effectively maintains the Outwoods working alongside the committee.
The Outwoods is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) by Natural England, which means it is protected by law to conserve its wildlife and geology. It is also part of the ancient Charnwood Forest and is the most easterly part of the National Forest.
For more information and the latest updates about the project visit www.charnwood.gov.uk/Outwoodsrestoration