Crowthorne Road woodland project
We will begin a long-term project to remove pine trees from a woodland in Bracknell. The pine trees will be replaced with native varieties to make a better habitat for wildlife, a place more enjoyable for recreation and provide a sustainable source of timber. This is part of a wider aim to regenerate council managed coniferous forestry plantations throughout the borough.
This woodland regeneration project is a pine woodland that runs either side of Crowthorne Road (A3095) in a north to south direction between Nine Mile Ride (B3430) and the Hanworth roundabout.
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 pines in this location had been planted as a commercial plantation some 55 to 65 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. Keeping these trees is therefore not a sustainable option.
According to an independent survey (Bluesky), Bracknell Forest is one 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’re replacing the trees with a broadleaved variety.
A mix of broadleaved species will be more beneficial to wildlife and they will be more resistant to pest and diseases. A mixed woodland will also be more resilient to climate change.
We will start a borough-wide comprehensive forest management plan which will progressively replace the existing conifer plantations to 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. This will lead to an improved habitat for an increased variety of insects, birds and mammals.
Managing the scheme
We will be:
- Removing non-native species such as rhododendron ponticum.
- Thinning out specific areas of pine trees.
- Removing certain groups of pine trees.
- Planting new native woodland trees and shrubs.
Disruption to the highway
All access points to the woodland will be from public open spaces and the highway. There will be minimum disruption to traffic on Crowthorne Road and the residential roads adjoining the woodland.
The preparation will start in September 2019. It is anticipated that the whole scheme (apart from new planting) will take 2 to 3 weeks at the most (weather dependant). The planting of new trees will start in late autumn and early winter.