Travelling through time at Uffmoor Wood
Volunteers discovered the natural and cultural history of Uffmoor Wood recently when they were joined by local expert and retired Woodland Warden Ken Gregory. Ken lead a guided walk around the site, pointing out various locations of historical significance, such as the digging of marl ponds, areas where coppicing once took place and the use of the wood by local communities in past times. Ken is also a fountain of knowledge when it comes to the tree and wildlife species at the site and told the group about the changes to the wood that he’d experienced in the years he’d been visiting. This was all very useful information for the volunteers who are based at Uffmoor, so that they can answer any questions they may get asked by visitors to the site.
Uffmoor is an ancient woodland site was once part of the estate of the nearby Hagley Hall, home of the 18th century politician and poet, Lord Lyttelton. The name ‘Uffmoor’ means ‘Offa’s moor’. King Offa ruled Mercia (middle England) from 757 until his death in 796. Sadly, much of the original woodland was felled and replanted in the 1970s, but fragments of the ancient woodland remain. The Woodland Trust is managing the wood so that the conifers are slowly removed in favour of native species. It is brimming with wildlife, certain sections are carpeted in bluebells in late spring, many types of fungi pop up across the wood in autumn and muntjac, roe and fallow deer roam the site. This is just a snippet of floral and faunal species that can be found at Uffmoor!
The volunteer wardens patrol the site every day and play a vital role acting as the Woodland Trust’s ‘eyes and ears’. They work closely with site manager Jane Ward and are supported by Lead Volunteer David.
Sadly Uffmoor Wood has a history of anti-social behaviour, so a year ago the difficult decision was taken to close the wood temporarily whilst Woodland Trust staff and volunteers came up with an action plan to improve the situation. A combination of site and car park improvements, engagement with the local community and police, along with the recruitment of new wardens to strengthen the existing warden group has led to a steady improvement on site.
Work still needs to continue, but the future looks rosy for Uffmoor!
Amanda Brookes: VDO – Central
Photo by Jane Ward