Regular visitors to Spud Wood in recent weeks may have noticed that there has been a programme of clearing in certain sections of the woodland.
It’s terribly sad to the landscape changing and to see seemingly healthy trees being felled – but unfortunately, a large area of Ash Dieback was identified by the Woodland Trust and the only option was to cut down the diseased Ash trees.
Ash Dieback is a disease that was first identified in Asia – and found it’s way to Europe around 30 years ago. In Asia, it doesn’t cause too many issues but sadly it can be devastating for our native Ash, as it doesn’t have any natural defence against it.
European Ash trees can fight back, but eventually year on year infections will sadly kill them. This was the situation at Spud Wood. The Woodland Trist aim to retain as many potentially tolerant Ash trees as possible – letting nature take its course by allowing diseased Ash trees to decline, but sometimes trees have to be felled due to risk they pose to the public.
THOUGH SAD, THERE IS HOPE: The Woodland Trust have been replacing the trees with a more diverse mix of native trees including Oak, Holly, Yew, Hornbeam, Rowan and Spindle. In time, this area of Spud Wood will return to its former glory and will be enjoyed for many generations to come. So that the new trees have the best change, certain sections have been closed off with a makeshift fence of branches and twigs. Though the pathways are a little muddy in places at the moment, please stick to the paths and don’t cross over the newly planted sections. The new trees are only babies, so please don’t trample on them!
ABOUT SPUD WOOD
Spud Wood is a thriving mix of broadleaf woodland and grassland meadow with abundant birdlife and wonderful views over the surrounding area, stretching to the Pennines in the east. The wood is bordered by the historic Bridgewater Canal – a great place to wander along the bank, watch the boats and perhaps catch sight of a kingfisher.
This relatively new woodland was planted in the late 1990s on a former potato field – hence the name! Now the oak, ash and silver birch has matured to form a shady canopy that’s alive with squirrels and birds. It’s the perfect site for summer picnics, dog walking and peaceful strolls at any time of year. Be sure to look out for the brook and pond nestled in the wood.
The main entrance is from Stage Lane to the north. The small (free) car park leads to a surfaced footpath which crosses Grantham’s Bridge over the Bridgewater Canal into the woodland. The site has around 1 mile of unsurfaced paths accessed through four pedestrian entrance points with either metal kissing gates or squeeze stiles.
Entrances are on Oughtrington Lane and Burford Lane, and there is an unofficial access point on the southern boundary from Helsdale Wood via a well-worn footpath. A wooden footbridge with two small flights of steps crosses over Helsdale Brook.