Taking the flight of steps up into Kirkwood, visitors are able to see a variety of trees and the wildlife they support.
There are oak, beech and sycamore.
Some of the sycamore have been topped. This allows light to penetrate to the woodland floor and encourages the growth of a ground layer of plants, providing food and cover for invertebrates. The stumps are left standing as these also play their part in increasing biodiversity.
On the left is an area where beech seeds have germinated and grown into small trees. If left, they will grow tall and thin, blocking out the light. The plan for management of the woodland means that they will be thinned. Perhaps 30% will be removed and replaced with saplings of other native trees – silver birch, rowan, oak. Later they will be thinned again. At each stage action taken to allow in light and encourage biodiversity.
To the right of the path, a damp area has been planted with Alder. These young trees have catkins which are attractive to Siskins. As the trees grow, they will provide more food for these migratory birds and perhaps make it easier for visitors to Chadkirk to see them.
Over the crest of the hill, towards the river, a stand of beech trees shows why this management strategy is helpful. Here below the beech trees there is no undergrowth. This provides much less opportunity for colonisation by wildlife and is vulnerable to soil erosion. In this part of Kirkwood, future work will be undertaken to introduce light by felling 3 fire damaged trees.