RSPB The Lodge Talks Woodlands and Heathlands as BBC Wild Isles Launches

Wild Isles shows the wildlife and wild places of the United Kingdom as never before. The five-part series is a unique collaboration between the RSPB, WWF and The Open University, working with the BBC and Silverback Films.

In the major new landmark series, Sir David Attenborough will celebrate the wonders of the islands that we call home, revealing the surprising and dramatic habitats that exist right on our doorstep. It’s our home, as you’ve never seen it before.

Filmed over the course of three years, this new five-part series will investigate how our woodland, grassland, freshwater and ocean habitats support wildlife of all kinds. The first of five episodes of this new BBC series aired to the public on BBC One and iPlayer on Sunday March 12 at 7pm.

The RSPB is the UK’s largest nature conservation charity, protecting habitats, saving species and delivering conservation work across England, the UK and internationally. In Bedfordshire, at RSPB The Lodge, RSPB staff and volunteers have been planting broadleaved native trees such as Hawthorn and Oak to benefit wildlife in our woodlands. The native trees provide food for insects which in turn provide food for birds.   

Site Manager, Peter Bradley said: “Ancient woodlands and trees are brilliant for biodiversity but it’s a real balancing act to plant the right tree in the right place. Trees are just one of the ways we can capture carbon and help combat the Nature and Climate Emergency. At RSPB The Lodge we’re planting native trees to benefit wildlife, and removing Conifers which don’t belong in the habitat we are creating for wildlife on site.   

“Some Conifers have also been removed to recreate ancient heathland for rare species such as Nightjar, Natterjack Toads and Solitary Bees, and potentially Woodlark and Dartford Warbler.”  

Bedfordshire has a variety of ancient woodlands. On acidic, sandy soils, such as on the Greensand Ridge – which straddles parts of Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire (where sandy soils also support lowland heathland and grassland), you tend to find the majestic Sessile Oak and Birch with an understory of Holly, Rowan and Small-Leaved Lime. On clay soils Pedunculate Oak and Ash with an understory of Hazel, Field Maple and Dogwood dominate. In the past some former heathland areas on the Greensand Ridge were planted with Conifers as at The Lodge, which could also benefit from some tree removal to return it to wildlife rich heathland.    

Volunteers at RSPB The Lodge help the site team maintain the woodlands and heathlands by removing Birch saplings using ‘tree poppers’ (a special hand tool which uses leverage to pull out unwanted trees – roots and all) and planting native scrub and trees in the right places.    

Contact RSPB The Lodge to find out how to get involved in hands-on volunteering on site or find out how to grow your own tree for wildlife with advice on finding the right space to plant it in, which tree to choose, how best to plant it and ongoing care and maintenance tips:https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/nature-on-your-doorstep/garden-activities/grow-a-tree-for-wildlife/      

For more information on RSPB The Lodge visit www.rspb.org.uk/thelodge  

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