Bright ideas to impove forest life will improve wildlife and history

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The Forestry Commission is planning a brighter future for a woodland in the North York Moors – which includes extending wildlife habitats.

A long-term blueprint for Broxa Forest, near Scarborough, will also see archaeological relics protected and precious ancient woodland restored.

The 1,825-acre beauty spot will also continue to produce timber - a renewable resource vital to the UK and local rural economy.

Planning work is well underway on a new draft design plan which, when finished, will be available for people and other organisations to comment on.

Nigel Rylance, Forestry Commission planning officer, said: “Forestry is a long term business and this plan looks ahead into the next century so changes would be implemented gradually.

“One of the key conservation aims is to create more wildlife corridors allowing animals to travel through the landscape and also connecting habitats together.”

Although much of Broxa is plantation woodland – which took root as part of a push to increase tree cover diminished by wars in the 20th century, 455 acres are designated as ancient woodland, which means it appears on the earliest reliable maps, dating to the 1600s.

Most of this area along steep ghylls and centred on the River Derwent has also been planted with conifers, but under the new proposals these would be removed and natural regeneration of native broadleaf trees like oak, ash, birch and willow will be encouraged.

That will boost the prospects for local wildlife, including white-clawed crayfish, otter and kingfisher.

Nigel Rylance said: “It’s exciting to be able tap the expertise we have to reshape an important woodland. We are mindful about climate change so will select tree species resistant to pests and disease.”