Cheshire is one of the least wooded counties
Less than 5% of Cheshire has tree cover.
Our woodlands range in age from long-standing forests through which our ancestors hunted to modern-day plantations which provide materials for building and paper. Many think of Delamere or Macclesfield Forest when they picture woodlands, important areas of woodland can be characterised by different trees: deciduous woodland, wet woodland, upland oak woodland and veteran trees.
Over the next decade Cheshire Wildlife Trust will work to increase our tree cover by contributing to the growth of the Weaver Valley within the Northern Forest: the county’s largest native woodland after 50 million trees have been planted across northern England over the next 25 years.
Why are woodlands important?
Our woodlands come alive at dawn – tawny owls hoot to each other, and wrens, blackcaps and warblers fill the air with song. Great spotted woodpeckers, treecreepers and jays visit broad leaved and mixed woods, while goldcrests and rare crossbills flit between the trees of conifer forests.
During the day, small herds of roe and fallow deer roam between the tree trunks of our mixed woods, red squirrels bustle around the treetops in pine woods and butterflies alight on flowers at the forest floor. As night descends, mammals like foxes, bats, badgers and dormice come out to forage and hunt.
In woodlands, dead and rotting wood is important for fungi and insects like the impressively horned stag beetle. But it’s the flowers that our forests are really famous for. Carpets of bluebells herald the spring, hoards of white ramsons fill the air with the exciting scent of garlic and pretty wood anemones line the paths.
Tree planting is an important tool to help mitigate the impacts of climate change and where tree planting is undertaken sensitively it can also provide important wildlife habitat. Ecologically functional woodlands are complex ecosystems that have evolved over long periods of time and they are difficult, but not impossible, to replicate. Creating the conditions for wildlife to thrive requires careful planning and long-term habitat management. There are a number of important points to consider to ensure that woodland habitat creation is also beneficial to wildlife.
If you or a group are looking to plant trees, please read our guidance below first.