Work to improve the biodiversity of a Covid memorial woodland has got underway.

Improvements are being made to The Wood of Thanks near Goodson Road in Malvern so it can become a tribute to the community response to the pandemic.

The wood will also include a memorial for people who lost their lives to the virus.

Planned works include tree and shrub maintenance to improve woodland health, special ‘hibernacula benches’ which will serve as refuges for overwintering reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates.

And a planned painted mural and natural sculptures within the site will incorporate creative touches from local artists. 

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The work is being carried out by Malvern Hills District Council (MHDC) in partnership with Malvern Community Forest, a charity that invites communities, groups and individuals to be involved in managing woodlands, hedgerows and more for the benefit of residents.

Its volunteers will be working to improve the health and biodiversity of the memorial wood through careful management of trees and vegetation, maintaining access trails and engaging the local community in their long-term program of conservation work. 

'Contemplation and reflection'

The Madresfield Estate has provided the woodland for a period of 20 years and MHDC will be responsible for maintaining and enhancing the area.

The project has received more than £3,400 (45 percent of the overall cost) of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund.

Cllr Beverley Nielsen, portfolio holder for environmental services at MHDC, said: “After so much suffering and dedicated service by key workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, this wonderful project offers local people the opportunity to enjoy this mature woodland, whilst perhaps taking time out for contemplation and reflection in these peaceful surroundings.

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“The council has developed a plan to manage the woodland, making it a better space for our wildlife and for visitors alike. I’d like to thank the Madresfield Estate, our Biodiversity Project Officer at MHDC and Malvern Community Forest volunteers for their support in enabling the revival of this very special space.”

David Munday, chair of Malvern Community Forest, said: "Getting people out into green spaces is one of our core aims. This will be a great place to kick back and relax to observe nature in an environment that is close to so many local residents.”