The Heaths Countryside Corridor received a visit from woodland advisor Mike Phillips on 14th August through the Good Woods project. The charity, local to the villages of Charing Heath and Lenham Heath in Kent, purchased Hurst Wood from the company that owns High Speed 1 after the woodland had been dissected by the building of the new railway. It was bought with the intention of allowing responsible public access and to safeguard the wildlife that has made Hurst Wood its home.
The woodland is unique as it comprises roughly equal areas of Ancient Semi Natural Woodland as well as newly planted secondary woodland that was planted on ancient woodland soil translocated during the construction of High Speed 1. The current management of the woodland is primarily for the dormouse which receives a high level of protection under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations (2010). Dormouse survey work over recent years has shown that increasingly, dormice are now favouring the area of secondary woodland over the ancient woodland. During the visit, this phenomenon and the reason for its occurrence was discussed at length and advice was given about coppicing the ancient woodland to improve the structure and species diversity of this area that is a requirement for top quality dormouse habitat.
In Kent Good Woods is being delivered by the Kent Downs AONB Unit and the Countryside Management Partnerships. Woodland owners in Kent interested in receiving a visit should contact Mike Phillips: Mike.Phillips@kentdowns.org.uk.
Further information and advice on management in woodlands for dormouse habitat: read more