Rushmere Country Park

An important part of The Greensand Trust’s work is conserving and enhancing the distinctive landscape, wildlife and history of the Greensand Ridge and wider area. At Rushmere we are working hard to reintroduce natural habitats for the benefit of flora, fauna and wildlife. Part of this work involves us removing some of the non-native species of trees. We have carried out some felling work within the park around our Oak Wood area. This has been managed by Trust rangers and experienced contractors and health and safety was paramount in our concerns.

We understand that the felling of trees can be upsetting to our visitors, but we can assure you that this work is essential to creating a better natural environment. All work that we carried out was under license and following the advice of experts within the field of woodland conservation.

Why we are restoring heathland and native woodland 

The heathland and native woodland that we will be restoring following the removal of the plantation conifers will support a much wider variety of our native and declining wildlife including a wide range of birds and insects. The new areas of woodland will predominantly be allowed to restore by natural regeneration which should start in the current growing season and is likely to be at a high density, though with planting of additional native species to enhance its diversity.

The spruce plantations were planted as a commercial timber crop with the eventual aim that they would be harvested. Their removal will allow them to be replaced with a natural woodland cover dominated by native broadleaved trees that will provide greater benefits to landscape and biodiversity.

The felling was approved by the Forestry Commission under a felling license and the restocking by natural regeneration and planting are within the license. The license application was also placed on the public register for public consultation.

We acknowledge this may be a visual shock to some visitors. Please be assured that the work carried out is for the benefit for the environment, ensuring this rare habitat is protected for many generations to come.

We thank you for your support and understanding.

Historic heathland sites at the park

The area was historically an area of heathland known as ‘The Warren’ which was first planted with conifer plantations in the 1800s, though most of the existing plantations date from the middle of the 20th century.

A large stand of conifers on the area to the south of the Greensand Ridge Walk was blown over by the storm of 1987, with the more open conditions encouraging the re-establishment of the former heathland vegetation.  The current work will further reduce the tree cover to encourage the rare heathland habitats to develop, while retaining scattered mature oak, Scots pine and larch.

The spruce in the plantation to the north of the Greensand Ridge Walk has been felled, while retaining broad-leaved trees such as oak and birch, as well as Scots pine and the large Douglas fir. Thirty English oaks have been planted on the cleared areas, and natural regeneration of broad leaved trees will be encouraged that will be of greater benefit to wildlife and be more in keeping with the landscape of the Greensand Ridge.

The main image shows previous heathland restoration at the park.

More information and Frequently Asked Questions on why we need to re-establish heathland sites at the park is available here.