Woodland bird and invertebrate species are suffering from declines due to our woodlands being fragmented, poorly managed, and not having sufficient veteran trees or standing dead wood to create a healthy ecosystem. With climate commitments relying on dramatically increasing woodland cover in the UK, particularly in England, we need new native woodlands to be created to extend our woodland cover and restore biodiversity.
Culm Moor Nature Reserve is a former farm used for dairy grazing north of Dartmoor National Park within the North Devon Biosphere Reserve. The soil is free-draining, red clay and the pasture was damp with a monoculture ryegrass cover. There are adjacent patches of woodland and the hedgerow line has a few veteran oak trees. The site is on the Culm Measures rock formations, noted for their moorland and wet woodlands.
The site will be planted with native broadleaved tree species such as oak, small-leaved lime, rowan, and field maple at 2.5m into mounded ridges. Between the ridges a carpet of native bulbs such as bluebells and wild garlic will be planted to accelerate the ground flora vegetation process and reduce scrub intrusion. Individual fruit bearing trees such as spindle and crab apple will be planted along hedgerow lines to improve biodiversity and provide food for pollinators.
The existing veteran trees have a rich bryophyte and lichen community and there is a substantial amount of deadwood on site, which will be left in situ to allow transferal.