Warley Woods - Bluebell Woods

This photo is from around 1916 and shows Warley Woods carpeted with bluebells. You would be hard-pressed to see a scene like this anywhere within our woodlands today which is a substantial loss to both people and wildlife. 

The Buy a Bluebell campaign hopes to reverse the worrying trend of woodland ground flora loss across Warley Woods, here's the rub we need you all as a community to buy in (I mean that on every level). 

We as a community need to decide what kind of woodland we want to walk around and leave for our children to inherit, one that is full of wildlife and springtime woodland flowers or the barren denuded woodland much of it has become. 

Love Warley Woods, Love Nature

There is no doubt that Warley Woods is a well-loved park, the question is, do we love it enough to show it the care it needs? Warley Woods is loved with over 453,000 visits every year (estimated from our visitor survey), and if anything, the numbers are increasing. This amount of footfall (and pawfall) whilst lovely is certainly incredibly problematic for woodland plants, stick with me and I will tell you why.

Woodland plants are susceptible to damage by trampling and soil compaction. This is coupled with the fact most woodland plant species are slow to re-colonise areas (1-2cm/yr). Some spread predominantly by rhizomes, or in the case of our native bluebell, by heavy seeds that fall at the base of the parent plant. They also have a short growing season, the majority of which spring (excuse the pun) up before the leaves come back on the trees, so have very little time to recover from any sustained damage. 

The path to restoring our woods - don't be a trailblazer 

What is the solution and how do we get back on the right path? A simple thing we can all do to help combat this problem is to stick to the existing path network as much as we can. We are all guilty of it (me included), but when those small actions are scaled up to the number of visitors we have it becomes a much larger impact than you could have imagined.

We have been utilising cut materials from our conservation activities to make dead hedges (pictured). These act as visual clues that we are trying to limit access in an area as we have invested time and money into planting it up. Please stay out of these areas. 

Ready to take action? - Buy a Bluebell and spread the word! 

Wild Warley has been working hard to restore areas of our woodland, by donating to the Buy a Bluebell campaign you are helping fund our annual woodland ground-flora planting. These will be planted in carefully selected locations to maximise the chance of survival. It is hoped that as this campaign grows we can spread the planting over a much wider area. 

Share the knowledge. I am a firm believer that the vast majority of people are not malicious and will try and do the right thing if they are aware of it. Our reach only goes so far but you are members of the community and if you are convinced by this campaign maybe your friends will be too!  Thank you.  Doug Barber

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