Woodland work at Crickley
Protecting Crickley's Trees
Sitting behind the cafe at the top of Crickley Hill is an area of woodland affectionately known as The Scrubbs. The Scrubbs is a site of special scientific interest due to the trees and wildlife it supports.
The woodland is a mix of beech, oak and ash trees and some of the trees have a history dating back 200 years.
Rangers Matt Stanway and Laura Lawrance-Owen have set out a 10 year woodland management plan for The Scrubbs.
The work they do will improve conditions for wildlife and allow trees and habitats to flourish so that future generations can continue to enjoy playing, walking and reflecting there, just as we do today.
Ancient and Veteran Trees
Specialist tree surveyors have been helping us to record the status and quality of the trees in the Scrubbs. Together we’ve highlighted 35 that are ‘ancient’, ‘veteran’ or ‘notable’ and need special attention to ensure their health in the long term.
Combined with surveys undertaken in previous years, there are now 74 trees classed as ancient, veteran or notable across the site.
Ancient trees are not a specific age but they are particularly old compared to other trees of the same species and might be gnarled, knobbly or hollow with particularly thick trunks.
Veteran trees show many of the same characteristics but are not as old, whilst notable trees have local significance because of particular features such as their size.
They all have one thing in common – they bring character and beauty to Crickley’s woodland and are also special for the fungi, deadwood, invertebrates and lichen they support.
Laura says: ‘Without intervention we could lose some of Crickley’s historic trees and the species that depend on them. That’s why we need to actively manage their structure and take weight out of some of the tree canopies. Others have become overcrowded and we need to fell some of the trees around them to ensure their health (a process called ‘haloing’).
Fallen deadwood plays an important role in protecting the roots of some of our magnificent trees and it’s important that it stays in place – that’s why we discourage den building in the woods.
The deadwood is a haven for beetles (some of which are nationally scarce) and plants such as dog’s mercury and sanicle thrive where the woodland ground is undisturbed.
Fungus (like scarlet elf cup) also loves to grow on deadwood and there are hundreds of different species recorded across the site, thriving in this environment and ready to be discovered on a walk.
However, some important species have already disappeared or retreated from areas where they should be thriving. That’s why our ten year plan is such an important part of our mission to protect Crickley’s woodland and wildlife for future generations.