Deer price to pay for wild woods


Woodland for Sale
Woodlands for sale throughout the UK. Call 01727 701641 for current availability in your area.

Vantage Land
01727 701641

Young trees in a Welwyn Garden City wood are being destroyed by Muntjac deer.

The deer, are named as woodland vandals along with grey squirrels, in a report by Welwyn Hatfield Council into the state of Sherrardspark Wood and Northaw Great Wood because they destroy young and coppiced trees.

The report revealed that both animals are present in high numbers, as are rhododendron bushes, and that action needs to be taken to prevent the decline of native species in the wood.

A large number of rhododendrons, not a native UK species, are to be removed however protestors have put up signs in Sherrardspark Wood urging the council to let the bushes stay.

But Councillor Alan Franey, executive member for environment, explained that the council was under obligation to abide by rules set by the Government's wildlife watchdog, English Nature, because the wood had been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The council's landscapes officer Chris James said the situation could become very serious if left unchecked. She said: "The rhododendrons are slowly but surely increasing. We don't want the situation they've got in Wales and Cornwall where whole valleys are being taken up with them and they are losing all their native vegetation underneath.

"What we want is a nice mixed oak and hornbeam woodland, not a rhododendron monoculture."

The council is proposing to leave some rhododendrons in the middle of the wood so that visitors can still enjoy them.

Pressed as to the possible fate of the muntjacs and grey squirrels, Mrs James said no decision had yet been made. She said: "There is no actual policy at the moment but we have obviously got the problem in mind so it is inevitable that we will have to consider it.

"I think in Sherrardspark Wood it would be extremely difficult to cull deer as the wood is very highly visited, but at the same time if there are too many deer and English Nature want us to address it then we will have to.

"I'm not an expert marksman so I'm not sure exactly what we could do."

Mrs James said the muntjac's favourite food was bramble shoots, but that they often ate the shoots of young trees and trees which were re-growing after being coppiced.

The muntjac, a small deer about 90cm long, is native to China and Taiwan but was introduced to parks in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire about 100 years ago and is now a common sight in woodland in the South East.

Get the latest woodland news direct to your desktop with the Woodland Owner RSS feed RSS XML Feed.

Back to Woodland News