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News > General News > Protecting our Ancient Woodland

Protecting our Ancient Woodland

Sustainability partnership created with The Woodland Trust NI and Belfast Hills Partnership
28 Oct 2022
Written by Claire Bunting
General News
Eco Club pupils and Mr Woodrow with Ms Critchley, Belfast Hills Partnership
Eco Club pupils and Mr Woodrow with Ms Critchley, Belfast Hills Partnership

At Campbell College our unique heritage buildings sit within a stunning woodland campus.  The Building for the Futurecampus vision seeks to protect and improve our built heritage, but also recognises that our natural heritage needs attention if it is to be sustained for future generations.

To this end, we are delighted to announce a partnership with The Woodland Trust Northern Ireland and Belfast Hills Partnership which will see the restoration and protection of our natural heritage - in particular our ancient woodland.

A survey of our grounds was recently undertaken by the Woodland Trust NI and we were thrilled to learn that Campbell’s campus contains Ancient Woodland with native tree species dating back to the 1600’s and a small section of Planted Ancient Woodland dating back to the same period. Planted Ancient Woodland is an area that contains planted non-native species, typically beech or conifer. Additionally, our grounds also contain Long Established planted areas dating back to the 1800’s. Two maps below show the locations of these wooded areas:

The ancient areas are outlined in blue.

 

 

The areas of interest are marked below in yellow:

 

Unfortunately, a large section of our Ancient Woodland has been invaded with species of Laurel and Rhododendron which have aggressively encroached on the ancient native species. To save these ancient woodlands, we must remove these invasive species – or risk losing the woodlands forever.

We are delighted to advise that The Woodland Trust NI and Belfast Hills Partnership will be helping us revive our ancient woodland areas and grateful that both organizations along with Belfast City Council Million Trees have partnered to fund this important sustainability work on our campus.

The work will begin in earnest over the half-term holidays and we wanted to make you aware that the removal of the invasive species will significantly change the look of the affected areas of our campus. The areas will look bare at first, as species are removed. This will provide the room and light our native species need to thrive and once the invasive species have been removed. Together, The Woodland Trust NI and Belfast Hills Partnership will reassess the woodlands and develop a planting plan to introduce more native species.

We will be working with Dr Breen and our newly formed Eco Club to ensure that pupils learn from this unique project and sharing updates with you via the Community Hub and Facebook as the work progresses.  

This vital project is one part of a wider sustainability strategy which seeks to ensure we are protecting our built and natural heritage whilst doing what we can to protect the wider environment as we deliver our ‘Building for the Future’ campus vision.

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