It was cold, and crispy underfoot, with the odd snowflake melting on my nose as I wandered aimlessly around Grass Wood, near Grassington, on Sunday. I wasn’t on an aimless wander though. The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust have been continuing their hard graft around this ancient woodland over a few years now and I wanted to look at what has been done. The first day of February’s probably not the best time of year for admiring the woods at their best but there are many signs of some busy hands. Beech, sycamore, spruce, larch and pine had been planted in these rocky slopes over half a century ago but they are gradually being removed to restore the wood to its natural broad-leafed canopy composition of ash, wych elm, oak and hazel which will help the undergrowth. Sadly, no deer around during my visit; in fact, wildlife was scarce – a pair of beautiful bullfinches flirting, blackbirds flitting around and a grey heron laboriously taking off in the lower woods by the Wharfe.

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