Historic Woodlands Fit for the Future

Wednesday 30th March 2016

Panoramic view through Greno WoodsGreno Woods

Over 3000 native trees have been planted in Greno Woods this winter, as part of a plan to improve the resilience of the semi-natural ancient woodland, which holds some of Yorkshire’s most vulnerable habitats and species.

Greno Woods suffered when a large number of conifers were planted in the 1950’s following a forest fire. They were densely planted, creating blocks of identical trees with no diversity of species (known as a monoculture) which allow little light through to the forest floor, limiting the variety of plants and animals that the woodland can support.

When Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust bought the woods in 2012, they consulted local people and came up with a plan to extend the percentage of native broadleaf woodland in Greno Woods by replacing some areas of conifer with oak. In other areas conifers that have reached maturity are being harvested to provide sustainable timber and replaced with young native conifers.

The large amount of tree felling taking place may look brutal, but opening up the canopy and planting native broadleaf woodland species including oak, rowan and cherry trees means that native woodland has already begun to regenerate and thrive. The variety of trees planted support a much greater diversity of wildlife than the conifers they replaced. Plants, insects, birds and mammals are all taking advantage of the newly opened sunny glades, and the habitats that are currently being restored will allow them to flourish in the future.

The human species hasn’t been neglected either; whether it’s peace and quiet or adventure and adrenaline you are after, Greno Woods has it all. The woods are crisscrossed by footpaths and bridleways, mountain bike trails and orienteering courses, with den building areas and geocaches. They are also home to the Trust’s Wild Play, Wild Side, and Wild Survivor events – see www.wildsheffield.com/whats-on for details.