Enhancing Milking Bank Woodlands for People and Wildlife
Milking Bank comprises several areas of open space running through a 1980s residential development. The site was dominated by mown grassland with blocks of planted trees which mostly dated from the 1990s.
The plantations had not been managed since being planted and were often dense and dominated by thin tall trees. The field-layer ranged from very sparse in the denser areas to being dominated by nettle and bramble.
The two year Milking Bank Woodlands Nature Improvement Area (NIA) project was to undertake woodland management opening up the canopy of selected areas of the plantations to improve their ecological value.
This was achieved by thinning and coppicing to improve the woodland structure allowing more species of plant to grow in the woodlands. This diversification will enable many more species of birds and insects to live in the woodlands and will make the site significantly more visually attractive.
Our partners in this project were Dudley Council and was undertaken for the benefit of the local community. The Trust worked with the council to undertake sowing and planting as part of community involvement events. This included a family fun day in the first year where families were involved in making mini-beast hotels, tree planting and games in the woods.
A number of volunteer days were also held. These focused on under-planting the areas that had been thinned with tree species such as hazel, rowan and wild cherry and also introducing field layer flowering species.
We worked with local Milking Bank Primary School, students visited part of the site to learn about how the improvements made during the NIA Project would benefit both people and wildlife. Whilst on site children and adults took part in a mini-beast hunt and learnt some interesting facts about a variety of species, planted primroses and scattered foxglove and red campion seeds.
Pupils (and staff) that attended the sessions thoroughly enjoyed themselves and had been heard telling other classes what they had been up to, generating interest in being involved in any future developments/activities on the site.
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