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Woodland conservation work at Formby

Sun light coming through thinned trees in the woodlands at Formby
Sun light coming through thinned trees in the woodlands at Formby | © Harriet Wilkinson

This winter we’re carrying out conservation work in the Ravenmeols area to help improve the woodlands for people and wildlife.

The woodlands at NT Formby provide important habitats for a wide variety of wildlife. We manage Formby’s woodlands sustainably and responsibly, meeting Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) and UK Woodland Assurance Scheme (UKWAS) standards.

Why do Formby’s woodlands need to be managed?

Formby’s pine trees aren’t native to the coast, with some planted over 100 years ago. Ravenmeols includes plantations of pine trees planted in the late 1990's and early 2000's, some of which have failed.

Plantation woodlands are densely packed with trees of a similar age. The trees grow tall and thin as they compete to reach the sunlight, rather than establishing healthy roots. A tightly packed canopy also reduces light preventing saplings, wildflowers and other plants from growing.

Here’s how we’re giving nature a helping hand to create a healthier more diverse woodland habitat;

  • Coppicing trees or cutting them back to ground level to encourage new growth.
  • Thinning areas of densely packed pine trees.
  • Removing self-seeded sycamore trees that are taking over.
  • Planting around 400 sapling trees including holly, hazel and scots pine.
  • Building a dead wood hedge to give new saplings a safe space to grow
  • Creating dead wood habitats for all kinds of insects birds and animals.

“This important conservation work will create light and space in the Ravenmeols woodlands so that a wider variety of woodland wildlife can thrive here. The area will be a haven for insects, bats, birds and small mammals. There will also be more food for Formby’s rare red squirrels to forage with new trees and shrubs growing berries in the woodland understory and healthier pine trees producing more pinecones”.

- Chris Hunter, Ranger

Red squirrel in pine tree at Formby
Red squirrel in pine tree at Formby | © Gary Bailey

Getting by with a little help from our friends

We’re working with dedicated volunteer groups to help us achieve our ambitious plan. We meet twice weekly to tackle all this important work and are very grateful for their support.

What to expect whilst the work is carried out?

Some of the work, such as tree thinning, can only take place in the winter months, outside of the bird nesting season. However, there are other tasks that can be done all year round such as invasive species removal, looking after young plantations and maintaining the huge network of paths across the woodlands.

This conservation work is on-going so please bear with us as the area may look a bit stark in the short term. Nature will quickly embrace the space and we’ll then start to see signs of the thriving, healthy and diverse woodland habitat we’re aiming to support.

Thank you for keeping a safe distance from the team working in the woodlands and dogs under close control.

Your support helps keep Formby special

Every time you pay to park, scan your membership card, give your time as a volunteer or simply take your litter home with you, you’re supporting important conservation work like this. Together we can protect Formby’s wildlife so that it’s here for everyone to enjoy, for ever. Thank you.