The Sidmouth Woods Restoration Programme continues this winter.
Almost half the woodland has already been cleared of Rhododendron ponticum and an internal fence is now protecting the cleared area from the couple of deer that have found their way into the woodland. Trees are naturally regenerating now the deer are unable to eat the new growth.
To supplement the natural regeneration 1000 small hazel seedlings will be planted this winter over the 6 ha (17 acre) area. Hazel is great for wildlife and forms a multi-stemmed shrub known as a coppice stool. Collectively they will create an understory of woodland that will not compete for light with the higher canopy of oaks, chestnut and birch, enhancing the woodland as a wildlife rich habitat.
A third section (of a 5 year programme) will be cleared of Rhododendron ponticum. This invasive non-native is poor for wildlife and can create conditions that harbour pathogens.