Native woodland regeneration at Maidenhead Thicket

The Maidenhead Thicket larch plantation was one of many planted in the 1950s as a crop, but it was never harvested. We have now removed it to help make space for native trees to regenerate and improve biodiversity in the area.

What, when, where and how?

Removal of the larch plantation was carried out in September 2017. Large logging machinery plucked the larch from the ground and stripped it of branches in one effortless, elegant movement. Visitors came to watch and find out why it was happening. They also saw some tree surgery demonstrations and tried a spot of bug-hunting in a woodland open day with our rangers.

Why did we remove the larch?

Larch trees can harbour Phytopthora ramorum, a fungus that can transfer to our native trees. Also known as sudden oak death, the effects of this tree disease can be catastrophic to woodlands, so we’re keen to remove a potential source of it.

Why regenerate with native British trees?

Larch is a non-native tree to Britain planted throughout the UK. As a result, it supports fewer species of British wildlife compared to our native trees, which have evolved over centuries alongside them. Half the area is being replanted with a mixture of native broadleaves and half managed as a grassy glade, improving the habitat for our precious woodland flora and fauna to thrive.

Maidenhead Thicket - Hugh Mothersole

Butterfly conservation

Over the coming years we will continue to work alongside Butterfly Conservation as part of their project to plant elm trees resistant to Dutch elm disease.

It is hoped that the ongoing ride works coupled with the disease resistant elm and native woodland restoration projects will further encourage the rare White Letter Hairstreak butterfly. Their caterpillars feed on elm trees within Maidenhead Thicket.

White-letter Hairstreak butterfly at Maidenhead Thicket
White-letter hairstreak butterfly taken by Ian Wilson at Maidenhead Thicket
White-letter Hairstreak butterfly at Maidenhead Thicket

Planning your visit

  • Free parking is available at the Henley Road (SU857809), Canon Lane (SU859803), Pinkneys Drive (SU854815), and Stubbings overflow carparks (SU846811).

  • Maidenhead Thicket is half a mile south west of Pinkney’s Drive and 1.5 miles south west of Pinkney’s Green.

  • The nearest railway station is Maidenhead, which is 2 miles east of Maidenhead Thicket.