Over a thousand trees have been planted at the Outwoods in Loughborough to help the ancient woodland flourish.
Charnwood Borough Council which maintains the Outwoods, working alongside the Outwoods Management Committee has planted the trees as part of a restoration project to help return the Outwoods back to its former glory of a natural acid oak woodland.
The long-term plan to restore the woodland back to its true and natural historic state got underway last year when the Council started to gradually remove non-native coniferous trees.
A total of 1,300 trees have been planted across two areas of the Outwoods which had previously been filled with conifer trees.
Community groups, officers and councillors helped to plant lots of native oak and hazel trees and other native species such as rowan and birch are being encouraged to grow back naturally.
Cllr Jonathan Morgan, leader of the Council and a member of the Outwoods Management Committee said: “I’m pleased we’ve been able to start planting in the areas where the non-native trees have been removed. It was great to see so many volunteers joining us to plant some of the trees.
“The Outwoods is an important part of our borough and enjoyed by thousands of people each year.
“The next phase to remove conifer trees is due to start later this year and although it does mean there will be some more disruption, the work will be carried out as sensitively as possible.
“Ancient woodlands need to be carefully managed and this long-term project is in the best interest of the Outwoods to ensure it is enjoyed by future generations.”
The long-term Outwoods restoration project is part of a Countryside Stewardship scheme, run by Natural England and the Forestry Commission, and aims to preserve the ecology and habitats found in the woodland.
The Outwoods is 110 acres of ancient woodland to the south of Loughborough and is one of the oldest surviving woodland sites in Charnwood.
Responsibility of the Outwoods lies with the Outwoods Management Committee which is a separate body to the Council. However, the Council effectively maintains the Outwoods working alongside the committee.
The Outwoods is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) by Natural England, which means it is protected by law to conserve its wildlife and geology. It is also part of the ancient Charnwood Forest and is the most easterly part of the National Forest.
For more information and the latest updates about the project visit www.charnwood.gov.uk/Outwoodsrestoration.