WORK to improve an important butterfly habitat is due to start at Trench Wood nature reserve near Droitwich Spa.
The work will take place in the south-eastern pocket of the woodland and will involve clearing 30m rides through the woodland in order to create sunny open spaces with plenty of wildflowers and sheltered scrubby areas; perfect butterfly habitat.
Trench Wood was purchased by Worcestershire Wildlife Trust and Butterfly Conservation in the 1986 because of its importance for butterflies and scrub nesting warblers.
Work will also be taking place to create glades within the woodland. This will encourage the growth of oaks, increase the diversity of woodland flowers and help birds such as spotted flycatchers.
James Hitchcock, conservation officer for the nature reserve, said “The work to re-establish some of the rides may look quite drastic in places but it’s absolutely essential.
“By opening up these areas we’ll be helping flowers such as the common spotted orchid and butterflies like the uncommon silver-washed fritillary which need oak trees that grow close to flowering violets to lay their eggs on. Violets will only flower if sunlight can get down to the ground flora which is why this work is so important.
“While the Harris Brush Company, who owned the wood from the 1960s, left many of the trees in the woodland, they did undertake extensive clearance and planting of non-native and non-traditional trees for their business. We’re slowly removing the planted trees and encouraging the growth of our native trees. This will ensure suitable habitat for flowers, insects, birds and other wildlife.”
The Wildlife Trust own about two thirds of the woodland complex near Sale Green; just over 100 acres. The woodland had been known to naturalists for over a century when it was bought by the Harris Brush Company in the 1960s. They cleared much of the woodland to make way for fast-growing white wood to make brush handles from. Purchased by Worcestershire Wildlife Trust and Butterfly Conservation, the woodland is now traditionally managed using coppicing.
“Not only will the work be directly beneficial to the wildlife in the wood but any profits made from the sale of the timber will be ploughed back into more conservation work on our reserves,” added Mr Hitchcock.
Contractors will begin the work in the next two to three weeks and it will last for three to six weeks.