A treasure that has been lost….our woodlands

Day 4 of the WordPress #bloganuary challenge is to write about a treasure that has been lost. I started racking my brains….my favourite knitted fruit jumper as a kid? Nah, what about my first cat Sirius…maybe, how about I reminisce about a simpler life in the 90s pre tech?

The more I thought, the more I realised that up until now I haven’t managed to speak about the one thing I like to speak about on this blog, nature. So I’ve decided that the lost treasure I’m going to write about is our woodlands 🌲

Woodland decline

An article in The Guardian from April 2021 highlighted the results from a report conducted by the Woodland Trust. The report revealed that only 7% of our woodland is in good condition, and although woodland cover has doubled over the last 100 years, a lot of these trees are non-native. This means that our native woodlands are in poor condition and isolated, with wildlife in woodlands declining. Woodland currently covers 13% of UK land cover and only 2.5% of that is considered ancient woodland.

Trees are important not just for wildlife, but also for our mental health and well-being and climate change.

Living trees in our woodlands hold 213 million tonnes of carbon, 36% of which is stored in ancient woodlands. Trees can also help reduce the risk of downstream flooding.

There are a number of threats facing our woodlands including threat from developers for housing, new roads and railways. In winter 2021 Storm Arwen battered the UK and our trees took the brunt of it. It is estimated that over 16 million trees were damaged as a result.

The devastating result of Storm Arwen on our trees

A National Trust property in my local area, Haddo House lost 100,000 trees during Storm Arwen causing total devastation to this much loved and very popular green space for locals. Seeing the aerial video and photos from the aftermath was awful. The estate has been working on clearing and replanting but I certainly won’t see the full recovery in my lifetime. Absolutely heart breaking.

Popular woodland walks in my area have also been hit bad and many closed for a number of months, some which have never re-opened. Countesswells Woods have been decimated, and the “tree tunnel” I would drive through nearby looks like a tornado has ripped through. I can’t begin to describe how devastating this is not only as someone who enjoys woodland but for our nature too.

Countesswells Woods have since had further trees cut down, and the once leafy inviting canopy at the car park has turned into a barren wasteland of dead trees.

Happy memories exploring Countesswells Woods

My favourite moments of exploring this woodland was not long before Storm Arwen hit. Autumn for me means mushroom hunting and this woodland was fungi gold. I found many different species as I wandered around photographing and videoing them all. It is heart breaking to see the state of the woodland now.

I can’t help but think what the result of Storm Arwen and other brutal storms we’ve had in the last few years has had on our woodlands. How much has that 13% diminished to now?

A treasure for many reasons, our woodlands ❤️🌲🌳


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