Suffolk Wildlife Trust is undertaking a major heath restoration at Knettishall We are calling for a halt to any further planned tree felling or other forms of destruction or interference with the remaining wooded areas.
The site has been a hugely important recreational spot for many of us in the near and further vicinity. The fact that parts of it have been allowed to gradually evolve into different types of woodland has made it particularly special – woodland coexisting with the open heath areas - a truly wild place with a huge variety of different habitats and wildlife.
SWT are carrying out a complete landscape scale re-design to open heath with some scattered trees. This work applies to all of the land that lies within the boundary of the large grazing enclosure SWT put in place, which includes almost all of the area that used to be a Country Park.
To this end, large areas of the woodland, (mixed and deciduous), which have evolved naturally over many decades and have been providing homes for a multitude of woodland species, have been clear felled and tons of woodland soil removed. In other areas, the forest is being mechanically and substantially thinned with the aim of ultimately changing it to open heath. The tree felling has been carried out without any consideration for the trees that are supposed to be left in place, and substantial further tree loss has been the consequence due to wind throw and soil deterioration.
We are opposed to the work for the following reasons:
It is unjustifiable to destroy valuable habitats like woodland, which we have so little of in England.
The scale and the method of the work can only be described as industrial and brutal. The loss of live forms, both plant and animal, is inexcusable and a crime against nature.
The argument that we urgently need to create more heath because we have so little of it is not the truth. Large-scale heath restoration work has been carried out in an ever increasing number, both in East Anglia and in many other counties. In the Brecks alone there are over 100 sites where Breck Heath is being managed, restored or where there is a plan to restore it.
Our country would not have developed large areas of heath if our ancestors had not cut down the previously existing forests. Subsequent use of the cleared land for grazing and some crop growing stopped the trees from growing back. With the reduction of management and grazing different plants have been making a comeback, from taller grasses to shrubs and eventually trees. The fact that woodland is trying to regrow in those areas where it existed previously is a natural process and one we should welcome instead of insisting on an ill conceived crusade to eradicate those wooded areas in favor of a large scale comeback of heathland.
Heath restoration projects are pushed, promoted and generously funded. The opinion of the local public is generally ignored, as was in this case: SWT's plans were agreed and funding secured before they even went public with their plan to buy what had been "Kettishall Heath Country Park". At the point when they held their "consultation" on site on 7th September 2013, they had already started to receive payment for their proposed extensive heath restoration. Everything was a done deal and nothing the public said would have changed anything.
Our website provides in depth information about this issue, as well as updates on new developments.
There is currently also an active Facebook page: