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Woodland Regeneration

Woodlands are ever changing habitats which require long term management to maintain their structure and biodiversity. Woodland management can take a number of forms including:

  • Coppicing / pollarding
  • Thinning
  • Felling over mature trees
  • Underplanting to improve tree species diversity

This creates a less dense, more diverse woodland both by age and species mix which is a better habitat for animals, birds and plants. Well managed woodlands are also attractive, pleasant environments in which to enjoy a walk or to relax.

There are many woodlands within the Pennine Edge Forest which are being brought back into management. An example is the work which is being undertaken at Leesbrook in Oldham.

Leesbrook, Oldham
Leesbrook is a linear site in the middle Medlock Valley, between Huddersfield Road, Waterhead and Abbeyhills Road. The site is a series of former landfills which were closed and reclaimed in the 1970’s. Paths and access points were also created. The woodland planting has been very successful and, as a result, the site is now dominated by dense plantations. Access is poor; unsurfaced paths and poor entrance ways do not encourage the local community to visit the site. There are also concerns within the local community of crime and antisocial behaviour.

A development and management plan for the site has been written in conjunction with the local community which addresses the following issues:

  • Thinning of the existing plantations, selecting for native species such as oak, ash and birch and removing some of the non-native tree species
  • Under planting where tree species diversity is very low
  • Creating a more open woodland structure, removing trees near paths and creating site lines to ensure that there is a clear view from any paths
  • Rationalising the existing paths network to reflect site use. This includes surfacing some of the desire lines, creating new steps and access ways from the neighbouring housing areas
  • Creating new entrances and accesses to the site where appropriate to reflect patterns of use
  • Installing new site interpretation signs at the major entrances and way marking within the site
  • Producing new interpretation and self guided trail leaflets to encourage the local communities to visit the site.

The Leesbrook project represents a long term commitment by Oldham Council and the Pennine Edge Forest. Due to the scale of the project, it will take place in phases over a number of years, both to minimise disruption to the local community and the biodiversity and also to enable funding to be secured.

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