The Heart of England Forest planted 210,000 trees in "bumper" 2017

The Heart of England Forest project planted 210,000 trees across 140 hectares in 2017, 50,000 more than the previous year, according to its latest annual Impact Report.

Image: Heart of England Forest
Image: Heart of England Forest

Since its inception in 2003 to the end of 2017, the Heart of England Forest has created 1,450 hectares of new native broadleaf woodland in the central Midlands, amounting to some 1,650,000 trees, though this still represents only 12% of its eventual target to plant 30,000 acres (12140 ha) of connected native woodland.

The charity also protected over 240 hectares of mature and ancient woodland, coppiced hazel to encourage dormice in Alne Wood, installed new barn owl boxes and saw a jump in the number of raptor chicks raised, to 92.

It appointed a biodiversity manager, Sophie Leszczynska) in 2017, succeseded in having Coughton Park near Alcester designated a Local Wildlife Site, and trained 20 volunteers to undertake wildlife surveys.

Visitor numbers continued to rise, with 4,462 people attending organised walks and events, 19 formal groups and corporate partners using the forest, while volunteers donated 6,731 hours of labour on a variety of tasks.

A forestry internship programme was also launched, allowing participants to learn practical forestry skills and management, and three new trustees were recruited.

Chief executive Beth Brook said: "With a team of dedicated and hardworking staff and volunteers, and the support of our Friends of the Forest and corporate sponsors, we have seen great strides being made to achieve our vision of creating England’s largest new native broadleaf forest."

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