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Letters to the Editor Woodland Means Trees, Trees, Trees


In 1986 I started to clear the area now known as Melwood with the support of Meldreth Parish Council: getting rid of bramble and nettle covering the site and planting around twenty trees - ash, beech, whitebeam, mountain ash and birch. At that time the County Council gave trees and hedging to parishes annually. The County Council own the land as part of the school complex and the present Conservation Group have an accepted plan for the wood, now designated a Nature Reserve, which dictates how they proceed with its management.


Sadly, however, there seems to be a strong emphasis on ground cover, bird protection and the planting in isolated patches here and there of woodland plants which may or may not survive and even hedging where there already is strong tree and hedging cover. All this is at the expense of more trees. Much of the middle and back of the wood has been neglected. Many trees need coppicing, the dead ones cutting out altogether and the area cries out for replanting. Now that the Group has funds surely this should be a priority so that over the next few years new life can be brought to that area. The front half of Melwood is a picture with its lovely trees and flowers. Now courage and initiative is needed to tackle the less attractive part of the wood. Stripping it of some of its dead wood and ivy and replacing it with new trees and bushes will not impoverish it for bird and insect life as the whole surrounding area is thick with foliage and dead wood. The ground layer will certainly benefit from light and moisture.


To the east of Melwood, the land owned by Ben Rastell has the go- ahead from its owner for some clearance and management by the Conservation Group. It was once an old orchard and there are still a number of fruit trees that could be saved. In the centre there is a lovely lake area which could be a haven for birds. However, it needs far more man power than the Group can give. The County Wildlife Trust volunteers plus others should be brought in. Several working parties of up to twenty people over this summer could work miracles. Rob Mungovan, District Council Ecology Officer would, I am sure, be willing to involve himself and others. Let's get going with this new exciting project.


One last plea on the subject of trees. The area over the Mel from the British Queen has been well and truly cleared. What about another


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