Woodland pasture management at Croft Castle

Ancient trees in Croft Castle's parkland in Herefordshire, surrounded by bluebells

Discover how the Forestry Commission, National Trust and Natural England are working to reinstate historic wood pasture at Croft Castle.

The Forestry Commission is removing 28 hectares (70 acres) of non-native conifers from the central part of Croft Wood as part of its planned woodland management. This is a major step towards reinstating the beauty spot's historic wood pasture.

Conifer plantations conflict with how the landscape looked up until the mid-20th century, so a conversion to wood pasture is planned with the re-planting of broadleaved tree species such as oak, sweet chestnut and beech. The removal of the dense conifers will also allow wild flowers and wildlife to flourish once more on the woodland floor.

See a carpet of bluebells in the wood pasture this spring
Bluebells in the wood pasture in May 2014 at Croft Castle in Herefordshire

The photo above shows wood pasture re-established elsewhere at Croft which is flourishing with native trees and an abundance of flora and wildlife habitats.

The photo below shows the conifer plantation in autumn 2016; you can see how the area has been cleared and opened up.

An area of Croft's woodland where non-native conifers have been removed
The conifer plantation at sunset at Croft Castle in Herefordshire

Croft's landscape is designated as Grade II for its historic and national significance and documented evidence shows the presence of wood pasture throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. The restoration will also enhance the setting of the Iron Age hill fort of Croft Ambrey, a Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM).

Watch the video below to find out more about the woodland management plan and how we're improving biodiversity and reviving many of the veteran trees: