Conversion of Mature Conifer Plantation to Mixed Broadleaves
The remote Bloworth wood lies in the upper valley of Bransdale on the North Yorks Moors. It is in an area popular for walking and cycling.
Pictured above: Looking south down the valley. Picture Credit: Mark Bradley, National Trust
The mature conifer plantation of 11.82 hectares was originally planted in the 1940s and 1950s when it was owned by the Forestry Commission. It is now owned by the National Trust. There is moorland to the North and East and farmland to the South and West. On the West side lies the upper reaches of Hodge beck.
The conifer plantation never thrived and now the National Trust wants to create a predominantly broadleaf woodland.
The National Trust aims to provide greater habitat connectivity along the valley. The re-stocked Bloworth Wood will become a climate resilient woodland with diversity of structure through trees of differing ages and species. Natural regeneration will also be promoted.
The current woodland is split into a number of compartments. There are plans to fell in 2023 and plant in the 2023/24 planting season.
These include species which are known to grow well locally:
- downy birch
- pedunculate oak
- Scots pine
- wych elm
Tree guards will be used to protect against rabbits and deer.
Wildlife corridors and water management
Pictured above: Felled area awaiting restocking with broadleaves mix. Credit: Mark Bradley, National Trust
The restocking project will compliment a project begun in 2018 which saw 12,000 trees planted on a rough bracken covered slopes outside the woodland. By restocking Bloworth Wood with native broadleaves, National Trust will be extending that wildlife corridor further up the Bransdale valley . The aim is to improve biodiversity of fauna and flora, including providing habitats for breeding pairs of pied flycatchers which were present several decades ago and have started to return to the valley
Planting will also support flood alleviation work and help prevent soil runoff/erosion. This will help improve the water quality of the beck. As a tributary of the Rye, it will also help prevent flooding downstream at Malton.
Public access and community engagement
Pictured above: Looking north up the valley. Credit: Mark Bradley, National Trust.
Although there is currently no public access through Bloworth Wood, plans are in process to develop permissive paths to connect the woodland to the wider valley network of cycle and walking routes both in Bransdale and in the neighbouring Farndale Valley.
While the majority of the work will be carried out by contractors, one compartment will be planted by volunteers who will be encouraged to take ownership/management of sections of the woods.
To learn more about this project, please contact Mark Bradley
Grants for Resilient Woodlands
Since the scheme began grants for 212,804 trees (£2,800 average grant payment) have been made.
These grants are to help people plant trees that will survive and thrive into the future. Creating better, more resilient treescapes for our environment, for people and for the economy.