Save Britain's bluebell woodland


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Britain's bluebell woods, are more threatened than ever, according to conservationists.

The Woodland Trust claims woodlands are at risk from the proposed expansion of Luton and Stansted airports. Six woods face being razed or partly destroyed, including the 17-acre Priory Wood in Essex.

The bluebell woods join a list of 350 sites which have been continuously wooded for at least 400 years, and often much longer, but which are now threatened by proposed new building and road developments, claims the trust. Unless the erosion of these irreplaceable habitats is halted, Britain could lose what little is left of the wild wood that once covered its land mass, it said.

Britain's ancient woods are believed to account for half of the world's bluebells. The trust says such woodland now only covers approximately 2.5 per cent of Britain (1.3 million acres). It supports rare and endangered species including the dormouse, the glow worm, the oxlip and the early purple orchid.

The trust is currently creating nearly 250 acres of woodland within the pioneering Green Arc landscape project in north and east London. It intends to plant more than 100,000 native trees at Park Farm Havering to safeguard 1,000 animal and plant species and protect ancient tracts of nearby Hainault Forest, and a further 50,000 trees on open farmland with Epping Forest's historic boundary.

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