Rare flora and fauna flourishes at Brede

A WOODLAND restoration project at Brede has seen a dramatic increase in rare species.

A number of examples of rare flora and fauna have been identified at Brede High Woods during the spring, the Woodland Trust has revealed.

The conservation charity is highlighting this as evidence of the ongoing woodland management improving wildlife habitats on the site over the past four years.

A recent find on site, by local ecologist Dr Patrick Roper, was a single spike of the rarely seen bird’s-nest orchid. Over the past century this species of orchid has disappeared almost entirely from East Sussex, so the find is of particular interest.

Other recent sightings include the bluebell conch moth and the ant beetle.

Dave Bonsall, site manager for the Woodland Trust, said: “We are always striving to both increase the amount of habitat available for wildlife and enhance their existing habitats. The increase in such a diverse array of fauna goes some way to illustrating the importance of woodland conservation work, particularly in planted ancient woodland sites (PAWS) such as Brede.”

Research has shown that such PAWS sites contain “remnant features” of ancient woodlands, which are at least 400 years old and in some cases date back to the end of the last Ice Age.

Ancient woodland is the UK’s richest wildlife habitat and now accounts for just 2.4 percent of the UK’s land cover. Once destroyed it cannot be recreated with new planting. PAWS sites; however, can be restored to ancient semi-natural woodland if conifer removal is done appropriately.

Brede is one of the Trust’s flagship sites as part of its “More Trees, More Good” campaign to inspire people out into the woods across Sussex. People can even apply for their own trees as part of the charity’s Jubilee Woods tree planting project.

Brede High Woods has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Forestry Commission, Natural England, The Tubney Charitable Trust and many generous local supporters and donors.

Find out more about upcoming events and activities at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/Brede.