Tree-mendous effort in Honiton

Tenants win funding to restore woodland.

Residents at a block of flats in Honiton are leading a major project to revitalise a town centre woodland.

The Rookwood Association, which represents tenants at Rookwood House, in Exeter Road, has secured funding to transform a neglected and overgrown wood which borders the property.

Supported by Devon and Cornwall Housing Association and Honiton Town Council, the association is today (Wednesday) planting native trees on the site following work to remove invasive sycamore trees, which were deemed a safety hazard.

“They were too big, too close to the building, presented a danger and showed early signs of disease,” association chairman Paul Johnson told the Midweek Herald.

A survey of the wood, commissioned by the association, revealed it had suffered from “under management and fly tipping” over a number of years.

Significant regeneration of sycamore trees had left the beauty spot difficult to access and major work was needed to restore the wood, which once boasted a pond, to its former glory.

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Now, after extensive consultation with residents, the association has been able to engage contractors to start work.

As well as removing dangerous trees, it is proposed to cut back laurel and other invasive plants, clear small sections of ivy, and hedge and infill the eastern and northern edges of the wood with fruit, nectar and nut bearing plants - to encourage wildlife.

Bird and bat boxes are to be installed to support the wood’s already significant wildlife, which includes the common field mouse, the tawny owl, bat species, songbirds and frogs.

Rookwood resident Chris Law, who was 50 on Monday and has lived in his flat for almost 21 years, says he is delighted with the work.

“I’m pleased,” he said. “The trees were so close to the building they made the flats dark inside.

“Now it is a lot lighter.”

Honiton Town Council gave a grant of �100 towards the project.