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Local Woodland Volunteers Sort For Project

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Volunteers are being sought to help improve local woodlands, as part of a three and a half year conservation project launching in the New Year.

Three of Reading’s wildlife havens will benefit from the conservation work run by The Conservation Volunteers’ Woodland Improvement Team (WIT).

Conservation Starting In New Year

The conservation work, which will start in January 2020, will focus on three key Reading locations managed by Reading Council: Blundell’s Copse in Tilehurst, Bugs Bottom in Caversham and Clayfield Copse & Blackhouse Woods in Emmer Green, as well as also covering two woodland sites in the Wokingham borough; Highwood and Aldermoors, which are both situated in Woodley.

The group plans to meet every Tuesday, between 10 am and 3 pm at one of these locations.

The conservation work will include tree planting, coppicing, clearing encroaching bramble, controlling bracken and removing invasive plant species such as rhododendron and snowberry, in order to improve the habitat value of existing wildlife corridors.

People are invited to a launch event organised by the WIT on Tuesday 7th January 11:00-13:30 at Bugs Bottom. The launch event offers a chance to find out more about volunteering opportunities with the group. There will be activities, including some tree and hedge planting, followed by refreshments.

Funded By Network Rail

The 3.5-year project is funded by Network Rail as part of the No Net Loss Biodiversity on the Great Western Programme – which seeks to compensate for any removal of habitat during railway upgrades. It is also supported by the Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment (TOE).

Local Woodland Volunteers – Comments

Ruth Coxon, TCV Biodiversity Offset Project Officer, said: “I am really looking forward to connecting communities with their local green spaces and improving these habitats for wildlife. You really can’t put a value on planting a tree and finding it years later, thriving amongst an ecosystem you helped to establish. I invite others to share this sense of ownership by helping us to improve these woodland sites, within our neighbourhoods.”

Cllr Karen Rowland, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said: “We are delighted to support this wonderful project which offers great benefits for three of our important nature reserves. We are very keen to support volunteer projects like this in our parks, managed by conservation experts, working cooperatively with us to support biodiversity in the best possible way. We have worked successfully with TCV on a previous project at LousehiIll Copse in west Reading, where they have done a marvellous job of improving access and habitats.

“I am also pleased to see Network Rail’s commitment to fund conservation projects such as this, as a way to minimise biodiversity loss following railway upgrades.

“If you are interested in conservation and looking for a volunteering opportunity in the New Year – and a fantastic chance to get out into nature and help protect Reading’s precious wildlife – I’d encourage you to come along to the launch event on Tuesday 7th January at Bugs Bottom to give it a try and  find out more about what you can do.”

Parry Batth, executive member for environment and leisure, Wokingham Borough Council, said: “We’re thrilled to be partnering on this important project. It gives us a fantastic opportunity to increase the biodiversity of our woodlands. We’re encouraging local residents to join us in the active management of our Local Nature Reserves, such as Highwood and Aldermoors.”

Fiona Danks, Director of Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment, said: “TOE is delighted to be supporting this project which will enhance the biodiversity of several sites while at the same time providing more opportunities for the local communities to engage with nature.”

Emmanuel Deschamps, Environment Manager Network Rail, said: “The Greater West Programme includes the electrification of the Great Western railway between London and Cardiff, meaning faster, more reliable and more energy-efficient journeys for thousands of passengers and a quieter, cleaner environment for lineside neighbours. As a result of its commitment to minimise biodiversity loss within the railway landscape and leave a long-lasting legacy for nature and communities, it has funded 25 biodiversity projects across Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, West of England and South Wales. This represents 120ha of woodland restoration and 60ha of woodland creation as well as elements of ponds restoration, wildflower meadow creation and grassland preservation.”

Local Woodland Volunteers – How To Register

To register your interest as a volunteer or for more information contact Ruth at: ruth.coxon@tcv.org.uk  www.tcv.org.uk