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Evergreen

48 EVERGREEN Autumn Tor

48 EVERGREEN Autumn Tor takes a break on an appropriate piece of furniture. (continued) quickly — with the aim of producing ongoing rich dead-wood habitats. “This is the part of the management plan that deals with the ‘veteranisation’ of some middle-aged trees to make them age more quickly. One of the ways we do this is to pollard or heavily reduce the crown of the tree and do coronet and rip cutting. Another way is by pulling branches off, perhaps using winches, to create holes and split branches.” Half of Leigh Woods is owned by the National Trust and the other by the Forestry Commission. The southern part is remnant wood pasture grazed by cattle while the northern half is semi-natural ancient woodland. Tor says: “Wood pasture is an open land form historically grazed and has scattered veteran trees which are often pollards. Oak and other species were cut in cycles over many centuries to produce firewood and feed for cattle. On most wood pasture sites grazing stopped in the late 19th century. Now in Leigh Woods grazing cattle have been returned. “As a result of the absence of cattle for many decades the wood pasture has a lot of secondary woodland with younger trees competing with the veterans for light and water. “Removing the shade by gradual halo releasing is something we’re going to be doing a lot of. Oaks in particular are a light-loving species. Shade can kill them. “The southern half of Leigh Woods comprises areas of limestone grassland with scattered trees where the cattle graze. It’s also an important habitat for many different species of insects and interesting wild flowers.” Tor describes Leigh Woods as a fantastic place to visit with its Iron Age fort, a scheduled ancient monument. The semi-natural ancient woodland has had trees continually since the 1600s. It’s open to the public all year and is worth a visit by both amateur and professional tree enthusiasts.

2017 EVERGREEN 49 Sunlight filters through the beech trees. JAMES AUSTRUM The beautiful and diverse broadleaf woodland stands on a plateau above the Avon Gorge, offering panoramic views across the city and attracts 120,000 visits a year mostly from local people. Pathways wind through the oak, small-leaf lime and ash forest. Springtime brings an abundance of bluebells and wood anemones, while the summer months provide shady walks. The red and golden hues of autumn, combined with an interesting array of fungi, are particularly beautiful. The oak pollards are interspersed with areas of flower-rich limestone grassland around old stone quarries. Rockrose, Bristol rock-cress and black knapweed are all native to this area. It is indeed a place of poetic beauty. DALE LE VACK Further Information Leigh Woods, North Road, Bristol BS8 3PL (Car park sat nav BS8 3QB) Tel: 0117 9731645 www.nationaltrust.org.uk/leigh-woods

Evergreen Autumn 2017 online
Evergreen Autumn 2017 online
Evergreen Autumn 2017 online
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