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St. Modwen, the UK’s leading regeneration specialist, is creating a wildlife haven for threatened birds and a bluebell woodland near the Staffordshire village of Branston that will be part of The National Forest and can be enjoyed by local people for years to come.

St. Modwen has teamed up with Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, The Woodland Trust and the National Forest Company to create Branston Leas Woods close to the River Trent. The major project will include the planting of 21,000 trees and 14,000 bluebell bulbs and see the development of quiet grassland areas for declining bird species including lapwing and snipe.  

The project is being funded by St. Modwen in addition to a £218,000 grant from the National Forest Company’s Changing Landscapes Scheme, which will develop the woodland and cultivate the nature habitats over the next 10 years. The first phase of tree planting started this month and during February and March local residents and schools and colleges will be invited to ‘plant a tree at Branston Leas’ by taking part in events organised by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust. The bluebells will be planted after five years, once the young trees have established.

Branston Leas Woods is the latest project in the partnership between St. Modwen and The Woodland Trust which will leave a lasting legacy across the UK. In 2012, St. Modwen’s historic North Park at its Trentham Estate in North Staffordshire became one of The Woodland Trusts’ 60 Diamond Woods across the country, marking Queen Elizabeth II’s 60 years on the throne.

Ian Romano, senior development surveyor at St. Modwen said: “Branston Leas Woods will provide a beautiful landscape that can be enjoyed by existing and future residents for generations to come. We are keen to involve as many people as possible in planting new trees and invite people to register their interest at”

Simon West, Head of Forestry for the National Forest Company said:  “Branston Leas Woods will be a valuable addition to the Forest habitats south of Burton upon Trent, for both the new human residents and the rich wildlife that inhabit the wider area. The transport corridor between the A38 and the railway line is surprisingly rich in wildlife and this new woodland and the associated grassland will help maintain this diversity, as well as adding to the quality of life for the people living nearby.” 

John Tucker, Woodland Trust Director of Woodland Creation, said: “England has one of the lowest levels of woodland cover in Europe and partnership projects such as this with St. Modwen are a fantastic way to address the problem by working collaboratively to create new woodland.”

Helen Dale, of The Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, the organisation managing the new landscape added: “Branston Leas Woods will provide much needed habitats and breeding areas for threatened birds such as lapwing and snipe, and the introduction of grazing livestock will play an important role in managing the new environment.

“We will be running numerous community and educational events over the coming years to ensure that everyone feels part of what is going on at Branston Leas Woods.”

Branston Leas Woods will complement St. Modwen’s 175 acre Branston Leas regeneration scheme which is transforming land south of Branston into a sustainable community boasting new housing, employment space set to generate 1,500 new jobs, play areas, green spaces and the new Branston Square retail area. St. Modwen is also delivering a multi-million pound extension of Branston’s Rykneld Primary School, which will create an additional 160 primary school places.

  • Members of the public can find out more about the new Branston Leas Woods project by joining a walk around the site with Staffordshire Wildlife Trust on Sunday 31 January. It will start at 10am at the Riverside Inn pub car park and no booking is required. For further details contact Shaun Rimmer at the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust: / 01889 880100