THIRTY trees have been planted on the slopes of the Malvern Hills to secure the future of a popular woodland.
Worcestershire botanist Peter Garner, Colwall parish councillor Gwyneth Rees and her husband Derek, and the deputy chair of the Malvern Hills Trust, Sarah Rouse, all gathered at Thirds Wood on Friday to plant saplings.
The trust, formerly the Conservators, was also joined by Freda Ballard whose ancestor Stephen Ballard was instrumental in helping to establish the organisation in 1884.
The Ballard family once owned that part of the hills and Mr Ballard provided considerable funding for the construction of Jubilee Drive which runs through Thirds Wood.
Essential conservation work in Thirds Wood began in October to remove some of the over mature and weaker trees.
To provide a new generation of trees, saplings have been planted to provide new growth and a help to ensure the future of the woodland.
The tree species selected for planting were carefully considered to maintain the character of the woodland which has been named by town residents as Little Switzerland.
Conservation manager Jonathan Bills said: “This a key step in maintaining the character of this wood for local people and visitors to enjoy.
“Sadly, there is a ban on planting Larch, a dominant species in the woodland, due to the risk of a tree disease.
“However, we have chosen to plant three species already present within the woodland, including two evergreen species.
“Norway Spruce, Scots Pine and Hornbeam will keep that Little Switzerland character and also provide habitat for species such as Siskins and Crossbills.”
Further planting is planned for winter this year.
More information about the Thirds Wood project can be found at www.malvernhills.org.uk/latest-news.