A project to restore 52,000ha of ancient woodland has secured £1.9m from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The five-year scheme by the Woodland Trust aims to return post-war conifer plantations to their original native woodland state, restoring natural habitat which is home to more than 250 rare and threatened wildlife species.
Restoring ancient woodland involves gradually removing conifers from a plantation to allow more light to penetrate the canopy, encouraging specialist native species to grow back. The project aims to restore an area of woodland one-third the size of London, in sites across the UK from the glens of Scotland to Exmoor.
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) announced the confirmed funding for the Woodland Trust scheme along with initial support for projects worth £16m at historic sites across the country.
The £1.9m secured for restoring ancient woodland will go towards the total £2.9m cost of the project, with the Woodland Trust appealing for public donations to make up a £530,000 funding gap and the rest coming from partner organisations.
The scheme will see the Trust working with more than 1,000 landowners, offering information, advice and training.