Last spring, wildfires devastated over 170 hectares of Swinley Forest, causing damage to over 700 hectares of woodland and destroying important areas of habitat for local wildlife, including rare birds. Over the next few days hundreds of people, including foresters from the New Forest, members of Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service and local volunteers are to help replant trees in the woodland. Helpers coordinated by The Forestry Commission will be replanting the worst affected areas.
A spokeman for The Forestry Commission said they will be concentrating on broad leaf varieties as these are more resistant to fire, pests and diseases. Up to 300 people will help to replant oaks, sweet chestnuts, Douglas firs, aspen, alder, sequoia, and mountain pines. More variety will also encourage biodiversity, important for ground-nesting birds, dragonflies and damselflies.
Pam Warhurst, chair of the Forestry Commission, said: “It’s just incredible to witness the passion and enthusiasm volunteers have for forests all over the country, especially in the case of Crowthorne. There is an emotive connection and when people make that decision and commitment to volunteer, it is a great leveller and brings unexpected pleasure and joy in many different ways.”