Big Wood regeneration project
All the Corsican pine have been removed from the Big Wood and 3,200 native broadleaved tree saplings have been planted.
Hedge laying works have been completed along Peacock Lane where a new boundary fence is now installed.
New entrance gates, signs, waymarkers and surfaced paths provide better access to the woodland and wildlife are benefitting from new homes such as bird and bat boxes.
Other works lined up include new seating areas, interpretation and further wildlife habitat improvements.
The Big Wood regeneration project removed Corsican pine trees from a woodland in Bracknell. The pine trees were replaced with native tree varieties to make a better habitat for wildlife, a place more enjoyable for recreation and that will provide a sustainable source of timber. This is part of a wider aim to regenerate council managed coniferous forestry plantations throughout the borough. To find out more see our tree strategy.
Location of works
The Corsican Pine were removed from a broadleaved woodland located to the north of Peacock Lane (in a north to south direction between Peacock Lane and Berkshire Way (A329).
Reason for the scheme
A public consultation of residents indicated concerns about the sustainability of local forestry plantations. These pine plantations were planted widely before the development of Bracknell town and have since come into the ownership of the council.
The pine trees in this location had been planted as a commercial plantation over 50 years ago. Pines will naturally deteriorate over time, as they cannot be effectively pruned to improve their stability or extend their age in a safe condition. Retaining these trees was therefore not a sustainable option.
According to an independent survey (Bluesky), Bracknell Forest is 1 of the leafiest areas in the UK with around 40% of land covered with trees. We recognise the value of woodland in the borough and the importance of preserving this important resource, which is why we are undertaking work to replace the felled trees with broadleaved varieties.
A mix of broadleaved species will be more:
- beneficial to wildlife
- resistant to pest and diseases
- resilient to climate change
We will start a borough-wide comprehensive forest management plan which will progressively replace the existing conifer plantations with broadleaf species. This will keep the landscape of existing woodlands while changing plantations into diverse woodlands of the future.
During this process, which will take decades, the quality of the woodland can be improved by adding more tree species of varying ages and sizes and controlling invasive species that compete with the vegetation you want to establish. This will lead to an improved habitat for an increased variety of insects, birds and mammals.
Managing the works
We will be:
- removing Corsican pine trees
- planting new native woodland trees and shrubs
- managing invasive species such as bracken
- creating a new footpath for people to access and enjoy the site
Disruption to the highway
All access points to the woodland will be from public open spaces and the highway. There was a 2 way traffic management system on Peacock Lane with minimal disruption to residential roads adjoining the woodland.
The preparation started in September and October 2019.
The tree removal and tree planting was finished in autumn and winter 2019.
The access improvements (for example, new path, gates and signage) and new wildlife homes were finished this summer.
A plan of works document can be viewed below: