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Newbury Friends of the Earth host Lockdown Wood open evening

More than 20 people gathered for a “fascinating” open evening at Newbury’s Lockdown Woods.

The event, held on July 20 and organised by Newbury Friends of the Earth, saw those gathered in Goldwell Park listen to a talk on the woods by Susan Millington, who leads the project.

They were led on a ramble through the area of young saplings, learning more about some of the 20 tree species growing in the new woodland from Joan Stacey, and heard tales of some of the wildlife found in the area by Dave Webster, a local naturalist.

Ms Stacey pointed out that alder trees often grow in swampy ground as their wood does not rot in water, so many of these have been planted in the lowest part of the park, in the dampest ground.

Mr Webster also told the group about finding hundreds of the alder leaf beetle laying eggs and spending hours squashing the eggs and larvae to minimise damage to the young trees.

Sadly, despite his efforts, several of the alders were stripped of their leaves and the team thought they had died, but surprisingly, they have produced new leaves from their bases, showing great resilience.

Local moth expert, Paul Black, had set three moth traps overnight and showed the group some of the 200 individuals he had caught in Goldwell Park.

He spoke about some of the 53 species he had identified, including a ‘Waved Black’ which is on the Nationally Scarce (B) list. All the moths were released after the event.

Newbury Friends of the Earth coordinator Dr Millington said: “We had a fantastic evening. Everyone learned a lot, and we all went away with a greater appreciation of our natural world, and how we can help it thrive.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank West Berkshire Council, Newbury Town Council and Greenham Trust for their recent grants towards this project.

“We are hoping to extend the benefit to nature by linking two of our Lockdown Woods in Newbury with the development of a wildlife corridor.”

Newbury Friends of the Earth started the Lockdown Woods project at the beginning of the first lockdown in March 2020.

Since then the group has planted over 2000 native trees of over 25 species in a number of locations around West Berkshire, including Westbrook Down in Hungerford, Goldwell Park in Newbury, Barn Crescent in Wash Common and Stroud Green in Newbury.

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