This weekend I revisited a woodland plantation that I’d planted 19 years ago. I was delighted to discover a coterie of common spotted orchids (Dactylorhiza fuchsii). The sweet chestnut trees that I’d planted had been coppiced, as originally planned, and were accompanied by ‘volunteer’ silver birch. The light shading canopy
Planting more of the same ‘native woodlands’ that now litter the English countryside with little more ambition in their creation and management than a membership publicity drive or community engagement excercise, will be regretted long after the PR-masters behind them have past. In their own way, these are as regrettable as the dark satanic rows of conifers that were planted sixty years ago.
If we continue to plant green fuzz across our food-producing fields, with little concern either for the impending need to be more self-sufficient in food production, or for the need to reduce our enormous reliance on timber imports, Britain’s environmental credibility will be increasingly undermined.