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13 November 2014

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You are in: Tees > Nature > Nature Features > Saving Teesdale's Juniper Wood

Juniper berries

Teesdale juniper berries

Saving Teesdale's Juniper Wood

It's not a widely known fact, but Upper Teesdale National Nature Reserve is home to the largest juniper wood in England. The trouble is, it is under threat and Autumn is the time the wardens need the public's help to protect it.

Teesdale is beautiful at any time of year, but late Summer to early Autumn brings a particular quality of light that shows the area to its very best.

Among this seemingly idyllic scene, though, is the struggle for survival that defines the nature of our planet. England's largest juniper wood is under threat - from bunnies.

Teesdale

Teesdale in the Autumn

Among the many potential dangers to the young juniper bushes trying to get a foothold on this ancient site, are the many rabbits in the area, who are especially partial to an immature juniper bush.

That is why, at the start of October, staff at natural England invite members of the public along to help them harvest the ripening berries.

The berries are then grown in nurseries until the saplings are old and tough enough to be unappealing to the rabbits and other creatures that threaten the wood's survival. They are then taken back to the wood and replanted.

Teesdale Juniper Facts

  • Some of the trees growing in the shadow of High Force are about 250 years old.
  • Juniper is one of only 3 native British conifers (Scots Pine and Yew are the others).
  • There are separate male and female plants.
  • Seeds take 2 years to ripen. Not all the seed from old trees are viable so wardens have to check a sample of the berries on each bush/tree before deciding whether to pick from that particular individual.

last updated: 29/10/2008 at 18:09
created: 02/10/2008

You are in: Tees > Nature > Nature Features > Saving Teesdale's Juniper Wood

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