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Meetings on bid to restore wild woodland to Shropshire

By Lucy Todman | Ludlow | News | Published:

A community campaign to restore wild woodland to Shropshire is beginning with a series of meetings across the county.

The events, lead by environmental campaigner and school teacher Chris Hillcox, are designed to raise public awareness of rewilding.

Rewilding is a way of restoring the natural plant and animal communities that used to inhabit Shropshire before woodland clearance hundreds of years ago.

Currently, Shropshire has only 6.6 per cent native deciduous woodland cover, compared to the UK average of 13 per cent. Conservation projects are very slowly increasing the amount of forest cover in the county but but require regular and costly intervention to keep landscapes in the desired state.

Rewilding seeks to let nature take the lead on restoring landscapes like woodland, as well as providing economic and education opportunities to people in the county.

Chris said: “In Shropshire, pressures from development, agriculture, pollution, habitat loss and fragmentation, increased pest and diseases have threatened to undermine the integrity it’s natural woodlands.

"Woodland is often lost from sight and replaced by fields of crops or settlements. The way we have looked after the landscape has pushed wild woodland and wild woodland creatures like the pine marten to the edge.

"There is enough open space in Shropshire to maintain current farming practises and have places where the natural ecology can be restored. A place where once abundant creatures can thrive. We are not talking about the return of the wolf to Shropshire or letting a landscape run out of control”.

The community talks are planned for Oswestry Library, October 19 11am-12pm; Shrewsbury United Reform Church October 26 11am-12pm and Ludlow Library November 9 11am – 12pm.

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman
@shroptod

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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