Vital restoration work continues at nature reserve

A sweet chestnut tree at Piper’s Hill nature reserve.

A sweet chestnut tree at Piper’s Hill nature reserve.

First published in News

IMPORTANT restoration of a nature reserve near Droitwich Spa is set to continue this month.

Workers will be at Worcestershire Wildlife Trust’s Piper’s Hill and Dodderhill Common nature reserve, also known locally as Hanbury Wood, clearing space around the veteran trees on the site to give them increased access to sunlight and soil nutrients.

James Hitchcock, conservation officer for Piper’s Hill, said: “This work is essential for the survival of these magnificent and essential features of the British landscape. As well as having a huge historic and cultural heritage, veteran trees are crucial for the lifecycles of numerous insects, many species of fungus, birds such as tawny owls and mammals such as Daubenton’s bats that utilise the cracks and crevices in them.

“We’re really lucky because Piper’s Hill is one of the best sites in the region for veteran trees and previous intervention on the reserve has prevented the most heavily shaded trees from dying. We have a real responsibility to ensure their survival.

“The magnificent trees - largely oaks, sweet chestnut and beech trees that are hundreds of years old - originated in a wood pasture environment where they were widely spaced and able to grow. Our work hopes to replicate that environment and allow the current veteran trees to survive whilst also ensuring the growth of veteran trees of the future.”

The work, ongoing for more than 10 years, has been successful with increased sightings of butterflies and bees using the open spaces.

Anyone who wants to get involved with on-going management of the nature reserve can join the monthly Sunday volunteer work party. Anyone interested should contact the trust on 01905 754919 or at

For more information about the nature reserve or the work of Worcestershire Wildlife Trust visit

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