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Chiltern Society promotes healthier Chilterns AONB

A Chilterns protection group helped to clear woodlands popular with dog walkers and horse riders – and noticed the effects of drought.

The Chiltern Society, a volunteer powered group promoting and campaigning for the area, spent a day clearing Hodgemoor Woods close to Chalfont St Giles, Beaconsfield and Amersham.

After a request by Forestry England, a team of 18 volunteers went down to the site on August 2 to clear overgrowth of bracken and young saplings from the glade to provide more light and space for low-lying heather.

John Christensen, team leader of the Chiltern Society Working Party, said: “The woodland is clearly suffering from extreme heat and drought.

The site at Hodgemoor Woods at the end of the first day’s session, showing the low-lying heather. Chiltern Society will return for another conservation day in September (John Christensen/Chiltern Society)

“I had already canceled the working party session originally planned for mid-July because the working conditions were frankly dangerous.”

Although conditions on the day allowed the team to complete the works planned for the day, another session is needed to pull out “hundreds of self-seeded saplings which will otherwise smother the glade,” Mr Christensen said.

“Hodgemoor Wood provides a mix of habitats and this heather glade attracts many types of butterflies and invertebrates.

“Although much of the woodland at Hodgemoor has bracken covering at this time of year, this heather glade is regarded as exceptional and we are happy to cooperate with Forestry England’s conservation efforts.

Hundreds of people volunteer with the Chiltern Society across the Chilterns Area of ​​Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the group will always welcome new volunteers and give the appropriate tools and training to “help them get the most out of volunteering in this lovely region,” Mr Christensen added.

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