Helping hand for birds in bid to revive woodland

editorial image

A CAMPAIGN to secure the future of Greno Woods in Sheffield – and especially its birds – has been given a £150,000 boost by the Forestry Commission.

Help is being given to create a better habitat for endangered woodland birds through a £90,000 grant, and public access to the beauty spot will be improved thanks to a £60,000 grant.

Most of Greno Woods, between Grenoside, Ecclesfield and Chapeltown, is leased to Sheffield Wildlife Trust, which is mounting a fundraising drive to buy it outright.

Money to improve the habitat for birds – the largest awarded under a pioneering scheme with the RSPB – is designed to boost 15 threatened species in South Yorkshire.

Forestry Commission woodland officer Chris Grice said: “The wood is the haunt of lesser spotted woodpecker, wood warbler, spotted flycatcher, redpoll and garden warbler, all target species for our joint grant scheme with the RSPB.

“Management work including thinning dense forestry, coppicing, cutting back vegetation and improving heathland will help secure a brighter future for these wonderful creatures. Greno Wood is a key location for wildlife and we are keen to support Sheffield Wildlife Trust’s vision to make it an even better place.”

Mr Grice added: “Woodlands bird numbers have dipped alarmingly. Estimates suggest that the UK’s woodland bird population has fallen by 20% in the last 25 years, whilst lesser redpoll and willow tit populations have crashed over 50% since the late 1960s.”

Meanwhile, forest chiefs have allocated £60,000 to improve public access in the woods, which are renowned for their biodiversity and archaeological interest.

After launching a public appeal in April last year, Sheffield Wildlife Trust has so far raised £590,000 towards buying the woods, with another £130,000 needed.

Roy Mosley, the trust’s head of operations, said: “Greno Woods is a fantastic site and has the potential to be even better. With this grant from the Forestry Commission, along with all the support we’ve had from other funders and the local community, we should be able to make the site even better for people and wildlife and secure its long-term future.”

It is also hoped to make the woodland more attractive to walkers, mountain bikers and horse riders and to promote traditional skills such as coppicing and charcoal making.