This section of the web site is about Alvecote Wood. For years when cycling past this wood, we have wondered who owned it. It looked neglected but beautiful, and we thought idly that if it ever came up for sale, we'd be interested in owning it and managing it for wildlife.
Then Stephen was riding past one day and noticed a For Sale board in the ditch at the edge of the wood. We looked-up the details on the Agent's web site, checked that no other conservation organisations were already bidding, and subsequently had our offer accepted. An idle dream has taken a step towards becoming reality.
The area is almost entirely composed of mature oak (both pedunculate and sessile) with hawthorn and elder - only a few other types of tree at the woodland margin, and a superb crab apple deep in the wood. It is 11.5 acres, with a large clearing, a stream at the margin that crosses the wood part of the way down, a little pond on the stream, and a larger pond marked on the map that has not been managed and has subsequently become bog. There is a derelict barn and a derelict cattle/goat shed, and an internal enclosure. We know there are badgers from the setts and footprints. We've also seen little muntjac deer, and a buzzard family lives either there or nearby, being a frequent visitor to 'our' air space.
Internally it is very overgrown and difficult to access and we are working to improve this, making paths that don't damage wildlife habitats. We made and installed 19 nest boxes during the winter and have started to manage the clearing and old pond area. Ultimately we want to make this a wildlife haven, and a lovely place to visit with community groups by invitation. If we are able to help disabled and disadvantaged youngsters, amongst others, to see an ancient woodland and to learn about the ecology and trades associated with it, we will feel we have achieved something worthwhile. Besides that, we like creepy crawlies and furry and featheries, so it makes us feel good to be improving the habitat and biodiversity of the area!
We will soon be creating a new web site dedicated to this project. In the meantime - here are some photos.
Since the latest of those photographs: we have opened a new road entrance to replace the original entrance that was dangerous to use; we have erected a storage building to house maintenance equipment etc; we have dug 3 new interlinked ponds to improve the biodiversity; we have dug 200m of drainage trenches as so much of the area is waterlogged and we believe this has caused the loss of some oaks in years gone by - hopefully this improvement will help to improve the longevity of the trees as well as creating a wider range of habitats; we have planted 600 trees to create a new roadside hedge, which is a very valuable habitat in its own right; and we have started work on improving the internal access tracks so we can progress the management of the site.
To help with managing the site, we've bought a tractor! If you'd like to see the progress with restoring an elderly Massey Ferguson 188, please click here.