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Pewit Woodland

Sustainable Wantage lease a 1 hectare piece of woodland just off the Ridgeway, owned by the Woodland Trust. It was originally a beech woodland planted in the mid 1800s and still has some lovely mature trees from that time. At around the turn of the millennium, it was replanted with a mixture of native hardwoods. We manage it according to the Woodland Trust’s principles – only use native species, retain public access, manage without artificial herbicides & pesticides and keep the name Pewit (a once-common farmland bird).

We took on the management of the woodland in 2013. Our first job was to deal with dark and overcrowded trees. Logs from the initial thinning were mostly used as sustainable fuel, with the twigs and branches left in piles as a habitat for insects and small animals. The thinning operations still continue but at a slower rate now that the worst of the overcrowding has been dealt with.

Healthy, open woodland
We have put up a variety of nesting boxes. There are now 10 tit boxes (can you find them all?) two Barn Owl boxes, a Tawny Owl box and some bat shelter boxes. Fallow deer and occasionally Muntjac use the woodland for shelter – they too enjoy a good open view.

The result of this management is a more open woodland and the remaining trees are now growing healthy and strong. The species mix is Ash, Sycamore, Cherry and Beech. There has to be concern about the longevity of the Ash trees in the woodland, due to Ash Dieback, and we take this into consideration when carrying out any new thinning.

Opening the canopy has resulted in more light reaching the woodland floor and ground flora is becoming established. We try to enhance this biodiversity and keep the woodland in a state so it be used by the public, by controlling the encroachment of nettles in the more well used parts of the woodland.

If you are interested in being involved with Pewit Wood projects or would like more information about access, please contact us.