Blogger: Erica Howe, Communications Officer 

It’s a sad day when you have to point out the glaringly obvious! Today, The RSPB is expressing serious concern over potential damage to one of Suffolk’s most ancient areas of woodland. You would think that in a time of such overwhelming environmental concern, this kind of thing would not be allowed to happen.

You can read about this in today's  EADT:

The proposal for National Grid’s preferred route for the new Bramford to Twinstead power connection in the county would mean that the power pylons cut right through the heart of this special woodland. Should be a no-brainer right? Sadly, the National Grid is looking at this as their ‘preferred route’ for the power line.

A new overhead line through Hintlesham or Ramsey Wood would require the destruction of parts of this ancient woodland – irreplaceable habitat which we cannot afford to lose. To put this into a bit of perspective, there is documented evidence that the woods have been in existence since at least the twelfth century – a mere 900 years. Ely Cathedral was built around the same time – can you imagine the outrage that would kick off if there was a proposal to knock that building down? 

The woods are designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, meaning they are among the cream of the UK’s wildlife sites.  They are one of the largest areas of ancient woodland in Suffolk, and are nationally important for the diversity and range of plants, animals and insects they support.

Fragmentation is more technical term for this and it is considered one of the greatest threats to habitats, especially ancient woodland. In this current environmental climate, emphasis should be placed on reconnecting woodland blocks so that wildlife and flora and fauna can thrive in their natural habitats.

There is some really cool wildlife in the Woods. Here's some of our favourites:

Birds, those that sing...

Nightingale, bullfinch and song thrush are some of the most prevalent species or in the case of Marsh Tit and Nuthatch, large populations that are very important to Suffolk.

Moths, the winged kind...

Pauper Pug, which mainly eats Lime. Mocha is a Nationally scarce mopth and this one eats Field Maple.

Plants, simply beautiful ...

Some of the most important tree species in the woods are: Wild Service and Small-leaved Lime

In terms of plants, you can find: Herb-Paris, Green Hellebore, Violet Helleborine, Wood Sorrel, Wood Anemones. There are also bluebells, one of our favourites!

 The creepy crawlies ...

A Red Data Book (very important!) beetle called Mesosa nebulosa is found in the woods and its larvae live in dead wood in the canopy.

A flat-backed millipede that goes by the name of Polydesmus testaceus is also one of our favourites fiound in the woodland. It was discovered about five years ago in Hintlesham Wood and was the most northerly site in Europe to have such a milipede (the only site in the country where all five species of Polydesmus millipedes were found. Would you believe it!)

 Archaelogical features, the old stuff...

There are mediaeval (hand-dug) woodbanks that would have acted as boundary markers on this site. After digging tyhese out, the locals typically  would have had a hedge planted on it or a fence constructed to keep cattle/sheep out (it stopped your coppice being nibbled).

These woods have been in existence since at least the middle ages, if not the last Ice Age, and we simply cannot re-create their splendour elsewhere. National Grid need to acknowledge the importance of such a site, for wildlife, for the environment and for the health of the local communities.  

Rest assured, we will fight hard to ensure that another route is used for this power line and that where possible, the line is buried not blighting the countryside.

We also recognise that options for the transmission line are still being assessed, and we are engaging with National Grid, Natural England and other organisations to ensure an alternative route is selected.   

Watch this space.