Come and learn more about our ancient woodland

Wildside Ancient Woodland by Ian Rotherham
Wildside Ancient Woodland by Ian Rotherham
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Woods are perhaps our most evocative wildlife habitats, with local passion demonstrated by recent concerns expressed by hundreds of people about trees and woods in Sheffield.

So why not join me for an illustrated talk at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Potteric Carr Nature Reserve in Doncaster on Sunday, March 2, from 2 pm to 4 pm?

Wildside Burnham Beeches poostcard 1930s

Wildside Burnham Beeches poostcard 1930s

It costs only £3.50 per person but you must book via Potteric Carr Nature Reserve on 01302 570077.

This illustrated talk will introduce the fascinating subject of ancient woodland, the subject of my recent book by Shire Publishing ‘Ancient Woodland: History, Industry and Crafts’. I also co-wrote the Woodland Heritage Manual, the national guidance on woodland heritage.

The lecture is based on over 30 years’ experience of researching and managing ancient woodlands. From wet woodlands of Potteric, to Yorkshire’s ancient bluebell woods, the survival of our woodland resource is remarkable.

The topics will span from charcoal and whitecoal making, to withies and clog makers, tan-bark, potash and more.

Woodland wildlife is closely linked to the ancient status of the sites and to the intimate relationships between human usage and managements over many centuries.

In recent years, there has also been the discovery of so-called ‘shadow’ or ‘ghost’ woods – occurring from lowland heaths and commons, to urban hedgerows and remote upland sites.

These are amazing connections to our history and past ecology.

So come along and find out more.

It makes a change from the depressing sagas of ongoing threats to local trees and woods.

On this theme however, I have had such a huge postbag that it is too much to report in the Wildside column, and so I will be posting up a discussion on my blog. Please follow that if you want to know more.

A letter from Maureen Wraith of Meersbrook, Sheffield, sums up many people’s feelings ‘Regarding the seemingly indiscriminate tree felling, which is very upsetting, what I would like to know is where are all these trees going? What is happening to them? I did hear there is a power station that burns wood. Did I hear this correctly, and is this where our trees are going? Do you know what becomes of them?’

Maybe somebody who knows can get in touch so I can pass the answer back to Maureen.

I believe that there are wood-burning power stations either open or opening across the region. One is on the old cooling towers site at Blackburn Meadows. I do not know if that is yet in operation.

I am broadly in favour of wood-burning systems but not if they damage ancient woodlands, or in this case they are suspected of aiding damage to the urban forest.

nProfessor Ian D. Rotherham, researcher, writer and broadcaster on wildlife and environmental issues, is contactable on; follow ‘Ian’s Walk on the Wildside’, Ukeconet for more information.