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The Forestry Commission is planning a brighter future for a scenic woodland nestling in the idyllic North York Moors.
A long-term blueprint for Broxa Forest, near Scarborough, will see wildlife habitats extended, archaeological relics protected and precious ancient woodland restored.
The 730 hectare (1,825 acre) beauty spot will also continue to produce timber - a renewable resource vital to the UK and local rural economy.
Planning work is well underway on a new draft design plan which, when finished, will be available for people and other organisations to comment on.
Nigel Rylance, Forestry Commission Planning Officer, said:
"Forestry is a long term business and this plan looks ahead into the next century so changes would be implemented gradually. One of the key conservation aims is to create more wildlife corridors allowing animals to travel through the landscape and also connecting habitats together.”
Although much of Broxa is plantation woodland – which took root as part of a push to increase tree cover diminished by wars in the 20th century, 182 hectares (455 acres) are designated as ancient woodland, which means it appears on the earliest reliable maps, dating to the 1600s.
Most of this area along steep ghylls and centred on the River Derwent has also been planted with conifers, but under the new proposals these would be removed and natural regeneration of native broadleaf trees like oak, ash, birch and willow will be encouraged.
That will boost the prospects for local wildlife, including white-clawed crayfish, otter and kingfisher, all known to exist locally.
Nigel Rylance continued:
“It's exciting to be able tap the expertise we have in the Forestry Commission to reshape an important woodland. We are mindful about climate change so we will select tree species to plant that are well suited to the projected conditions and which are more likely to be resilient to tree pests and diseases. Timber production remains an important part of Broxa's future - it is a renewable resource in demand and part of planning for a greener economy.”
Broxa is dotted with 30 Scheduled Ancient Monuments including Bronze Age burial mounds and 193 other historic sites, ranging from medieval quarries to boundary stone markers. Resident wildlife includes birds of prey, European brown ant, green hair streak butterfly and plants such as common and Intermediate wintergreen. There are also some important geological sites including Pleistocene ice wedges. The forest is popular with walkers, horse riders and even husky racing teams and public access will be maintained.
Note to editor
The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands. More details visit www.forestry.gov.uk/yorkshireandthehumber
Media calls to Richard Darn on 0775 367 0038