Whatever anyone’s views are on the Forestry sell-off debacle; it shouldn’t ignore the fact that Ancient Woods are not getting the protection they deserve and the FC has not exactly been speedy at removing their conifers from these sites. The Woodland Trust’s Sue Holden had this to say following the government u-turn:

” Ancient woodland is our richest wildlife habitat – our rainforest – yet it is still being destroyed. The Woodland Trust has fought cases involving 850 ancient woods in the last decade. Ancient woodland, no matter who owns it, needs better protection. There is very little ancient woodland left and the only way to recreate it is to restore ancient woods which were planted with conifers, called Planted Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS). Restoring these is one of the most significant contributions we could make to the natural environment. The Forestry Commission has around 30000ha of PAWS which it has not restored despite a 2005 government commitment to do so”.

It is a pity that most of the national press seem only concerned with access issues, important as they are.