Spring makeover at Mardyke Woods

MARDYKEmardyke31 Woods in South Ockendon is getting a ‘makeover’ this spring, as part of the Mardyke Woods Project, jointly funded by the Forestry Commission, Veolia North Thames Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

From Wednesday 12th March until the end of April, woodland management work will begin to thin out key areas of the woods, which have become overgrown with sycamore trees during the last century. Sycamore spreads quickly when unmanaged, and leads to other tree, plant and animal species being pushed out – clearing sycamore in key areas over the next three winters will open up the woods for the benefit people and wildlife.

New entrance signage, maps and waymarkers are also going to appear over the next few months, showing visitors the routes they can walk, ride and cycle around the woods and beyond.

The Forestry Commission’s Community Ranger, Clare Rowley, says: ‘It’s an exciting time for Mardyke Woods. Thanks to this project, we are starting to bring this lovely ancient woodland back to how it should be – an ideal space for both people and wildlife. There will be a better variety of habitats for wildlife, and a more open, inviting space for people. Visitors will soon be able to see a real difference to the woods.’

Some paths will be temporarily closed during the tree felling work, in locations where chainsaw operators are working. The woods will remain open to the public, and diversions will be in place to redirect visitors around the closed paths.

For their own safety, the Forestry Commission asks that visitors respect all warning and diversion signs.

For more information, contact Clare on 01708 642964 or thameschase@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

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