Seeing the woods for the trees

Published : Mon 26th Nov Author : National Trust

SurreyHills - National Trust Taking the final steps to restore our iconic heathland site at Hindhead Common and the Devil's Punch Bowl.

Work to remove trees and shrubs along the line of the old A3 road inSurreywill open up some of the long lost views and allow wildlife to migrate. Since heavy traffic has been re-directed through the Hindhead tunnel,HindheadCommonsand the Devil's Punch Bowl has been basking in a new found peace and tranquillity and this latest planned felling will ensure that wildlife and human visitors enjoy the site equally.

When the old A3 was in use, the National Trust allowed scrub woodland to establish along its route to muffle the noise and fumes from the relentless traffic. But it divided the main heathlands and isolated many species. By removing the trees and restoring the original heathland along the line of the old road, the National Trust will be creating a wide 'corridor', connecting the main heathland areas and allowing birds, animals and insects to migrate, breed more widely and flourish.

Rare heathland birds, especially Nightjars, have already taken advantage of the site, expanding their favoured nesting areas towards the route of the old road; it's expected that Dartford Warblers and Woodlarks, some of England's other rare native birds, will follow suit.

Matt Cusack, National Trust Head Ranger for the Southwest Surrey Hills, says:

"Interestingly insects and reptiles, such as the Silver-studded Blue butterfly and Sand Lizards, won't cross a wooded area; colonies of these endangered species can easily become isolated and sometimes die out altogether if their heathland habitat has no way out for them – just one of the reasons that we're working hard to remove the trees that could cause a barrier to them."