Students to help thin Benhall Woods

Published on 14th January 2016

walking boot stepping into a scene of grass and trees

Arboriculture students from Pershore College are assisting the council with the thinning of Benhall Woods in order to ensure the wood’s survival and improvement in the longer term.

A twenty five per cent proportion of the woodland is to be thinned out with the best trees being retained to give them space to develop their crowns and become really strong trees in the future.

Lesser trees which have less vigour or vitality, will be removed either entirely down to ground level or where appropriate, left as standing dead wood. This standing dead wood will attract insects, and decay organisms thereby promoting ecological diversity.

This work is common good woodland management practice which has been endorsed by The Forestry Commission who visited the site and spoke with local councillors, Cheltenham Tree Group, Benhall Park Watch and the Residents’ Association who all were satisfied with the proposals.

Chris Chavasse, senior tree officer, says: “The work is being undertaken at no cost to the council over a period of time by arboriculture students from Pershore College.

‘’It is essential this work takes place; if it is not undertaken the trees will eventually lose their vitality. As wide a tree species as possible will be retained so as to make a species-rich woodland for the future. The aim is to woodchip the branches and spread the chippings on the woodland floor so as to return nutrient to the soil.

‘It is important this work goes ahead to ensure the longer term survival of the woods.”

David Gardner, arboriculture lecturer at Pershore College, said, "We're really pleased that our students will be working on this project with the council. It will give them invaluable experience which will stand them in good stead for their future careers in arboriculture."

Cllr Chris Coleman, cabinet member for clean and green environment, adds: “We’re pleased to link up with Pershore College students and it really is a win-win for us both. The students get good, solid, experience and we benefit from having the work carried out at no cost − it will make a big difference to the woods in the future.”

Site notices have been erected within the woods for several months explaining the intentions.

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