The Woodland Project was initiated in November 1998, in order to clear
a woodland area dominated by dense,essentially sterile Rhododendron
undergrowth. The main aim is to restore the area to a diverse native woodland through
natural regeneration and proactive management. The project is funded through the Landfill
Tax Credit Scheme, with Devon County Council as the Landfill Tax Operator. It is part of
an ongoing program of restoration of the area known as The Woodland Education Centre.
An initial survey was carried out in November, before
clearance, to document the vegetation then present on the site. There was an almost total
absence of ground flora under the Rhododendron canopy at this point, due to the extremely
low light levels. Light penetration under the canopy was often much less than 10% of full
daylight. The other main components of the vegetation were trees such as Silver Birch,
Holly, Oak and Willow, which had grown above the level of the Rhododendron before it
became completely dominant.
Clearance of the Rhododendron from the Woodland Project site has now been completed.
Underlying toxic Rhododendron leaf litter has been removed as far as possible by raking it
off and burning it. This operation has been carried out more than once in order to remove
as much as possible of the remaining fibrous matting overlying the soil.