South East Wales

Wentwood Forest near Newport 'recovering well'

A charity which raised £1.5m to buy the largest ancient woodland in Wales and save it from commercial forestry says its restoration is going well.

Wentwood Forest near Newport was bought by Woodland Trust six years ago with aid from 15,000 supporters like actress Judi Dench and author Bill Bryson.

It has removed thousands of conifers to make room for native species of trees such as oak, beech and hazel.

The trust said it had also improved habitats for wildlife.

Since buying the 350 hectare (870 acre) site the trust said it had also worked to reduce fly-tipping by closing off some of the tracks.

Barry Embling, who manages Wentwood, said: "Over the past five years we've removed tens of thousands of tonnes of conifer trees."

He said it improved habitats for the whole range of wildlife associated with ancient woodland, including dormouse, bats, song thrush and bullfinch.

"Other declining and nationally rare species which should benefit from the restoration include wood warbler, willow tit, cuckoo, tree pipit, goshawk and badger," he added.

Work to remove conifers will continue, including removing trees in areas with currently very young conifers which have not yet been thinned.

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