Protection for ancient West Country woodland underway

A project to protect ancient woodland in the south west has begun. Credit: ITV West Country

Conservation charity Plantlife has begun a new project to protect and preserve the ancient trees and coastal woodlands of the South West.

This comes as a result of increased danger to the sites including climate change, air pollution and tree diseases.

The lichens that live on the trees in Quantock Hills of Somerset are particularly of focus.

The ancient oak woodland down Willoughby Cleeve into Hodder's Coombe has been there for thousands of years old and are an important habitat for wildlife and rare plant species like moss and lichen.

The lichen don't cause any harm to the tree. Both don't have roots so don't go into the tissue of the tree. They are an important part of the ecosystem.

Philip Bruss, a National Trust ranger says woodlands like these must be protected. Credit: ITV West Country

The project is backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund and it's running in partnership with other organistations like the National Trust.

Alison Smith from Plantlife says the rate of loss of ancient woodland in Britain is greater than the Amazon rainforest. Credit: ITV West Country

Woods like these are said to have inspired generations of writers, poets and painters including Wordsworth, Coleridge and Tolkien.

The conservation work they are now doing here is designed to protect them for generations to come.