Today we have announced our exciting £5 million project with the Woodland Trust to protect and restore a magnificent 825 acres of ancient woodland on the northern fringes of Dartmoor in Devon.
It is the first time that we’ve worked together with the Woodland Trust on such a project, and it is set to be one of the largest ancient woodland restoration projects ever undertaken by the organisations.
This woodland is outstanding. Without doubt it is one of the most spectacular places we own being situated in the steep sided Teign Gorge. Once the restoration begins we will see pied flycatchers, redstarts and wood warblers returns. Visitors today will be able to spot buzzards, dippers and grey wagtails as well as bluebells and wood anenomes.
But, we had to move quickly to secure the site. In less than two months we were able to pool resources and secure the wood after it came onto the open market in May 2013.
Five million pounds is a lot of money and it made sense to partner with the Woodland Trust who were also interested in the woodlands. Over 500 acres of the land is conifer plantation on an ancient woodland site and the restoration of PAWS (Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites) is one of their strategic priorities.
Together we’ll be able to create almost 30 miles (48km) of footpaths for visitors who will be able to see and enjoy the woodlands and get a real feel for the enormity of the place.
The woodlands now belong to us jointly and we are ready to start the restoration process for the benefit of wildlife and people over the next 50 years. It also now allows us to manage a 10km long landscape of woodland in the Teign Gorge on Dartmoor. Managing wildlife on a landscape scale means we can give wildlife much more space to flourish – currently far too many of our special places are too small and as a result wildlife is penned in. Fingle Woods is a notable exception and we are confident that the benefits for wildlife and people will be enormous.
Adrian Colston, General Manager, National Trust – Dartmoor