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Restoring Native Woodland in Haw Park Wood

In 2010/2011 Wakefield Tree Wardens were involved in the replanting of British Native tree species on a plantation on ancient woodland (PAWS) site at Haw Park Wood near Wakefield. This woodland neighbours the historic Waterton House grounds, the former home of Charles Waterton the celebrated naturalist who established the first Nature Reserve here in the early 19th century.

The original native woodland, just outside his walled estate was heavily replanted with conifers during the last 70 years, to be used in the coal mining industry. Now this market has gone the sections of plantation are being selectively thinned in favour of British Native Woodland being restored. This FSC accredited woodland area is managed by the local authority under the supervision of The Forestry Commission.

We were asked if we would like to assist with the replanting of a 2.2 hectare section which had been clear felled of mixed conifer, over a year before. We gained the assistance of The Woodland Trust who supplied two Community Tree Packs ( 840 native trees ) and we grew over 500 native oaks. The seeds collected from nearby pendunculate oak trees. We added many more locally collected native seeds directly to the site ( mainly Ash and Oak ).

Over the winter, despite the best efforts of the Great British weather (the ground was frozen for nearly 2 months!) all of the trees were planted on site. We had help from several other organisations including the Friends of Haw Park Wood, Groundwork and other members of the public.

The following spring and summer was very dry and we had to make a special effort to keep the trees watered.

We're happy to report that the planted trees are now doing well. The variety of species planted should ensure that this part of the wood will grow into a diverse habitat for all manner of animals and plants.

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