Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans for our places and open spaces

There are a number of disruptions to Council services because of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Please check the link below before accessing any of our services.

For details of disruptions and for advice and guidance visit

Restoration of Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland in Wynyard Woodland Park.

Stockton Council has over the past two winters been restoring much of Tilery and Brierley Wood from conifer woodland back to deciduous woodland.


The Background

Classified as Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland, meaning woodland has existed here for at least 400 years; Wynyard was once the home of a wide variety of plants and animals.

In the post war years however, to ensure a sustainable supply of timber, the native deciduous trees were removed and conifers planted in their place.

The presence of the conifers has had a negative impact on plants and animals for the following reasons;

  • Our natural communities of animals and plants aren’t adapted to live with or on them.
  • The dense canopy blocks out sunlight to the forest floor and the acidic needles build up in a dense mat, suppressing the plants and flowers that would have lived here.
  • The lack of light stops the growth of young trees and shrubs, which would have provided a greater variety of niches available for wildlife.
  • Far lower numbers of creatures live on conifers due to their tough-to-digest needles and resin.


What Has Been Done?

Stockton Council has clear felled or thinned areas of coniferous trees, by felling Pines, Spruces and Firs. Where possible, deciduous trees that were present in amongst the conifers have been retained, providing a seed bank for future regeneration.

You can see how this project has progressed by looking at these before and after photos.


What Will Be The Impact?

The restored Ancient Semi Natural Woodland will provide an improved habitat and home for a greater number and diversity of native plants and animals.

Sunlight and moisture can now reach the woodland floor, giving deciduous trees and other plants the opportunity to thrive. We hope to see plants such as Cowslip, Bugle, Common Orchid, Meadowsweet or Wild Angelica appearing over the next few years.

After several years there will be a dense thicket of young trees, mostly Birch, which sheds vast numbers of seeds so is quick to colonise new areas. Trees such as Oak, Ash and Sycamore will eventually dominate, maybe fifty or a hundred years from now. A wider variety of insects and animals will also come to inhabit the woods, feeding off the seeds, fruits and flowers of the forest, revitalising the food chain in Wynyard Woods.

This work compliments the creation of 10 hectares of ‘lowland meadow’ in 2014. Known as Pickards Meadow, it is the largest project of its kind in the region in recent times. Last year 10 cows grazed the field for the first time and they will continue to be an essential part of managing the meadow in future years.

If you have any comments or queries please contact Stockton Council at; [email protected].