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Habitat Management & Wildlife Study in Ancient Woodland

Habitat Management & Wildlife Study in Ancient Woodland
Hawkmoth Wood
Description of the role:

Hawkmoth Wood is 12 acres of privately owned Ancient Woodland in a much larger private woodland complex called Brafferton Springs. As part of ongoing development to return the woodland from plantation woodland following planting after WW2 we are now gradually harvesting the coniferous trees and replacing with native deciduous trees and shrubs. We are looking for volunteers who can help in a very wide range of activities - lightweight brush clearance, tree planting, path development and maintenance, erecting bat and bird boxes, as well as opportunities to get involved in furthering our knowledge of the species on site by photographing and identifying a wide range of plants, butterflies, fungi, mosses, trees etc We currently have a specialist who has identified identified over 415 species of moth (some very rare) and more to find. There is a large woodland pond which was dug in 2019 and is is already attracting a wide range of creatures and will need monitoring. Shelter and toilets available. This is not hard work but will help us to return this ancient woodland back to traditional management and increase the biodiversity.

Current volunteer days are pending until the coronavirus lockdown is over. However please do register an interest and we'll be back in touch as soon as we can offer some volunteer days!

Skills and qualities needed for the role:

If you have an interest in wildlife, conservation and woodland, wellness issues and just being out in the fresh air in a (usually) quiet environment and can contribute in some way, please do get in touch. Small groups and individuals of all ages welcome. Children to be accompanied by one ( or both ) parents. The woodland is private and access is arranged on volunteer days only. We have a hide and an opportunity for photographing birds at the feeders while we have lunch. We do not have specific disabled access at the moment but we hope to offer limited access in the future in the camp area. Please do enquire if you have any special needs.

Practical information:

The profile of the wood is generally flat and easygoing, it is intersected with ditches (which are bridged on footpaths) but there is intentionally lots of ecologically important deadwood and areas of dense undergrowth, so care is needed. We have the necessary public liabilities in place but you are also responsible for your own and others safety while on site. Some lightweight tools are provided if necessary and instruction will be given if they are required. Power tools (chainsaws , strimmers etc) are generally used in the wood only by contractors and will not be used on the day. Children are welcome if accompanied by parents or suitable adult. There is no reliable public transport system but register your interest and we will see what we can do. Wear suitable clothing and strong footwear. Sorry, dogs are not permitted.


Additional Information
DBS check needed: No
Driving licence needed: No
Car owner: No
Open to: Families, Age 16+, Age 17+
Is this role wheelchair accessible?: No
Hawkmoth Wood
near Helperby
North Yorkshire
Last updated: 30.01.2021
Organisation Information

Hawkmoth Wood is a privately owned 12 acre ancient woodland site, more accurately currently notified by the Forestry Commission as PAWS ( plantation ancient woodland site ). It is part of a larger private 280 acre ancient woodland complex known as Brafferton Spring between Boroughbridge and Easingwold in North Yorkshire . The vision here is to replace the dominant coniferous species and return it to viable and traditionally managed semi natural woodland. Since it's purchase in 2016 over 360 species of moth, 80 species of bird, 145 species of flowering plant ( many of them ancient woodland indicator species ) have been identified and work is ongoing ( and help needed ) to fully document fungi, mosses, insects, butterflies, and dragonflies amongst others. The number of species already identified is testament to it's biodiverse history as ancient woodland and the work we intend to do will improve this further. The felling of the conifers has started to take place using timber contractors but we need volunteer help to undertake basic and lightweight brash clearance to allow the light through to the woodland floor. We also need help with erecting bird and bat boxes, path creation and maintenance. In February we will, once much of the remaining brash has been tidied, plant 350 trees, and we'd love you to come along and help. It's not all about habitat management, we also need people ( experienced or otherwise) to help identify species and monitor the changing nature of the wood. We have created a large woodland pond, there is a stream which runs the entire length of the south side of Hawkmoth Wood, an extensive area of bluebells so plenty to explore. The land is flat and generally easygoing, there is cover in case the weather turns inclement , and also a toilet. We are not looking for long term commitment , you are welcome to come and help on an ad hoc basis on our volunteer days as and when you wish. The woodland is not accessible outside of these days. We have the necessary public liability insurances . Contact us by email in the first instance at for details of our current volunteer days or to ask any questions. Please note the woodland is not on any regular public transport routes so access is generally by car. We are keen in due course to try to get anyone without transport a lift, and to encourage to minimise the carbon footprint in getting here by sharing lifts etc.