Walking through Northwood, I think back to five years ago when we planted our first Northwood tree. 12,999 trees and 21 native species later and we have a flourishing young woodland right in front of our eyes. Some of these adolescent trees are now even taller than me (and I’m 6ft tall!).
Not only is the 20 hectares of establishing native woodland doing brilliantly, but so is the natural regeneration. Large areas of saplings have popped up all over Northwood thanks to the surrounding rich seed source. Many of these young trees are being protected by plastic tree tubes, others are safely tucked up in scrub where grazing animals can’t quite reach them.
Talking about grazing animals, there’s also the 45 hectares of wood pasture being created in the heart of Northwood, where 60 five-foot wooden tree guards have already been constructed and installed within the open fields. Each guard protects a single tree of species such as English oak, beech, field maple and whitebeam. During the last couple of years these fields have also been converted to organic status and there are now organic shorthorn cattle and llynn sheep happily grazing on site, gradually creating a rough grassland habitat for a wide variety of wildlife to thrive in.
It’s incredible to see what we’ve achieved in just five years, imagine what the place will look like after another five years! The local wildlife certainly approves, you can tell because it’s moving into Northwood at a pace! Already this year we had our first site records for the purple emperor, green hairstreak and chalk hill blue butterflies.
None of this would have even been possible in the first place without the hard work and dedication from our volunteers. Without them, we would not have planted so many trees or been able to monitor them in their early establishment; Nor would we have made all the wooden tree guards on site, record all the vital wildlife data and so much more. Yes, we could have paid contractors to do all this work but that did not feel right; By inviting the community in to help, not only did they come in droves to support the project, they also became part of the Northwood legacy.
A huge heartfelt thank you to all who have been involved in making Northwood what it is today, and may this support continue as the woodland grows.
I may be whittling on and sounding sentimental but that is because this will be the last blog post for The Rise of Northwood. Five years into the project, it’s now progressing to an exciting new stage of its development. The initial set up and design has been completed to establish this woodland, and now it’s time to focus on monitoring and aftercare.
One last thing – Please do come and visit Northwood from time to time and take in the view from our Littlewood Lookout. The woodland is constantly changing and with new wildlife continuing to discovering it, you’ll be sure to spot something new with each trip you make.
Oh and finally……put a date in your diary for Northwood’s 10 year anniversary walk in Sept 2023!
Thank you for all your support over the last five years.