A new wood needs a name and we want you to name it! bit.ly/newwoodname

We are talking about a name for a wood before it exists, so how do we turn this site into a haven for nature? We don’t just throw trees in the ground – designing a new wood means looking at what is there already, what we want to achieve, how it fits into the landscape, and how we can work with local people. Here at Coombe, our primary aim is nature recovery, but also bringing benefits to
people, capturing carbon, and helping to mitigate flooding.

Building blocks of nature – what is there already
• The existing woods include ancient woodland flora – bluebells and wood anemones, that are being shaded out by invasive laurel.
• We’ve recorded 29 veteran trees and unusual oak pollards.
• Old maps reveal field patterns and orchards. Old hedgerows and trees provide seedbanks and suckers that will spread out into the fields.
• Hydrographic mapping shows water flows, and boggy fields with spring lines offer opportunities to hold water on the land and create wet woodland. We’re working with the Environment Agency and local flood action groups.
• Soil analysis has revealed lower levels of fertility than expected, good news for wildflowers (flowers prefer poor soils). But also not surprisingly, lots of pebbles – trickier for planting trees!

The bigger picture
Thinking about our surroundings, a mosaic of habitats means a more resilient landscape. With an estuary to the west and heaths to the east, more trees will provide much-needed shade for birds and other wildlife. This is crucial as our summers become hotter (and our winters wetter). The site also has constraints – a lane through the middle, electricity pylons crossing fields, neighbours, whose views and privacy we want to protect, and steep slopes in places. Taking all this into account the design (opposite) includes a mosaic of woods, wood pasture, scrub and glades.

Community connections
We’ve recruited volunteers to help us create a baseline of the birds, butterflies, insects and plants. We’re working with local primary schools and planning walks and tree planting days – watch this space! And we aim to open the first part of the site in Spring 2023.

With 2022 being the Woodland Trust’s 50th anniversary, a backdrop of climate change and the biodiversity crisis, we need space for nature like here, now more than ever. For more information:
southwestenquiries@woodlandtrust.org.uk
Pictures credit: WTML/Ben Lee
Design: Coombe in 20 years time.
Credit: WT/Roger Worthington
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