Running Deer purchased Butterdon Wood in July 2013.
Butterdon Wood is predominantly planted to Japanese Larch with mixed broadleaf including hazel, sweet chestnut, sycamore, cherry, holly and a few oak. The larch was planted as a crop in 1987.
Larch is a fast growing conifer harvested for construction, fencing, gates, telegraph poles and railway sleepers. Until we took ownership of the woodland it was under managed resulting in dense, dark conifer woodland with little growth at ground or shrub level.
The woodland is going through some massive changes, partly because a prolific disease that is currently attacking larch trees which has advanced our medium term aim to remove the larch and replace with broadleaf trees.
The creation of a new broadleaf woodland will change the structure of the canopy, allowing the light in and encouraging new tree growth and wild flowers such as bluebells, foxgloves and wood sorrel.
We have already cleared two compartments of Larch which have been replanted with native species such as silver birch, hazel, oak, hawthorn, crab apple, downy birch and holly.
There are also a significant number of hazel, sycamore and sweet chestnut coppice stands which have been left unmanaged. We are in the process of coppicing these trees using traditional methods, for the production of wood and charcoal, and to improve the health of the woodland.
As part of Running Deer’s replanting plan we will create glades and improve the habitat for wildlife, such as the Nightjar which used to be heard in Butterdon Wood before the larch plantation was established.