>> Ray Turner, woodland ownerAs a family we discussed what we wanted to do and one of the goals that we set was to buy ancient woodland and do whatever we could to protect it, preserve it, and to start to restore it back to the way it should be looking. We’re not experts, so we made contact with the Woodland Trust and invited them to come and work with us. We shared with them our vision and they were delighted with what we wanted to do, and then we take advice.  

>> Nigel Douglas, ancient woodland restoration officer, the Woodland TrustWe talk to ancient woodland owners. We go and do woodland surveys, looking for remnants, particularly of that sort of ancient woodland past. We highlight what the hot spots are in the woods and what the threats are to those remaining features and then we make recommendations for how people might go about restoring that woodland. 

Our real focus is what we call PAWS woodland  Plantation on Ancient Woodland Sites  and those are woodlands which in the past were usually clear-felled and replanted with conifers. And in the past we used to think that those woods, once they’d gone, that was it they were, you know, they would never be recovered, but in more recent times we’ve come to appreciate that all of those woodlands kept some of their features from their ancient woodland past. All of those woodlands have some remnants, and they also have some potential for restoring them back to, if not exactly what they were in the past, back to something resembling that.  

So, we’re looking more at restoration as a very, very gradual process. You’ll often go in and you’ll take out a few trees or a row of trees just to let a little bit more light in to give those remnant plants a chance to breathe and a chance to spread. And then we might take a step back for a couple of years, allowing it to respond. 

>> RayThat was very exciting for us, to have someone else come, look at this beautiful woodland that we fell in love with, and have them go round, not being emotionally tied to it like we are, and do a proper report and then come back to us and, and it was wonderful. It was an in-depth report that showed us the types of flowers and all the types of trees. 

We have in our mind a 25-year plan and during that 25 years we will actually restore the woodland to what it looked like.  

>> NigelThere was the opportunity not just to restore the woodland but to actually use the timber that we were taking out to do something really, really beneficial for that woodland owner. And what I think has really inspired me ithat Ray has taken my recommendations, moulded them to what he wants to do and he’s run with them. But I think also perhaps more than anything was the potential of this woodland. It’s got some areas which are quite nice sort of native ancient woodland, but it’s also got bits which are still kind of a plantation, but most of those have got some remnants of that ancient history, that ancient woodland past, and I think that’s what was able to sort of help convince Ray about, is that we’ve got something quite precious here and we can really sort of build on what we’ve got. 

>> RayWhen we purchased the woodland, all the family came down. They all wanted to visit. My own children, you know, were excited about the woodland and thought that they had grasped why I bought it. And they said oh, you know, you’ve bought this for the grandchildren, haven’t you? Just look how much fun they’re having. And we had a barbecue. We were doing camping. I gathered my own children round and said, well you know, that’s part of the reason, but another part of the reason is that we’ve purchased the woodland not just for our grandchildren, but for their grandchildren. And so, they will come as grandparents themselves and in that time, to what is looking more and more like an ancient woodland, and carry out the plan and the vision that their grandparents had when it was originally purchased. And that’s when my own children started to grasp... now we get the vision, we get why you’ve done it. It’s not just for us. It’s not just for your grandchildren. It’s for the generations to come.

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