What excites me about Summit to Sea is the way that it hopes to unite all these different habitats and places.
The rivers and the rocks and the woodlands and the coastline, all together.
But aside from the excitement there are also uncertainties and challenges, such as losses of biodiversity across the landscape and fragmentation of important habitats coupled with an increasingly difficult economic and policy situation which is putting pressure on the viability of making a living from the land. Summit to Sea is a hopeful development and an opportunity for bringing voices together. Encouraging conversation about land use amongst a more diverse group of people is good because lots of people have got a stake in the survival of these habitats and of local culture and heritage.
It’s important that this place is recognised as ecologically and culturally significant.
The work I do is to help to restore ancient woodland – providing advice and support to landowners. Woodland restoration brings benefits both economically and ecologically.
For example, I work with woodland owners and small-scale contractors who are locally based to bring these neglected woodlands into management. Many ancient woodlands were planted with conifers in the 20th century. These sites need to be carefully managed in order to safe guard and strengthen their biological diversity. Also, the soils within ancient woodland are really important. These woodlands have never been ploughed or disturbed and so the soil retains a seed bank from the pre-plantation woodland along with a greater fungal diversity.
By managing these sites carefully, we can protect the genetic heritage of our local woodland ecosystems and at the same time create work for local contractors.