Rare species

Rare species help put Frodsham’s “little woodland” on the map

A PROJECT to identify and record species living in and around Frodsham’s iconic Hob Hey Wood has revealed there are at least 408 species living there.
It was not possible to identify many species so the total number is likely to be much higher.
This is revealed in the Hob Hey Friends Group review of last year.
The project was launched in early 2021 because, Hob Hey Wood is ancient woodland and an incredibly biodiverse place, it has not had many visits from biological recorders in the past.
Species identified by the Friends’ project ranged from the extremely common to the incredibly rare with notables including white-letter hairstreak butterfly, Nathusius’ pipistrelle, and the very rare tiered tooth fungus.
Mark O’Sullivan, chairman of the Friends group, said: “These records have been added and have put our little woodland ‘on the map. Species recording will continue in 2022.”
The discovery of the white-letter hairstreak butterfly is important because it lives solely on elm trees and its population crashed dramatically following the Dutch elm disease which emerged in the 1970s and destroyed around 60 million British elms.
Once common, the white-letter hairstreak is now very rare in Cheshire. Dutch Elm disease is still killing trees in Hob Hey Wood, to the butterfly colony is still threatened. The Friends group, through tree warden Tom Blundell, entered a competition to win a disease-resistant elm tree and it was planted last year.
The Friends plans for this year include leading a walk as part of the Frodsham Festival of Walks, giving talks on the wood to interested groups, path construction, biological recording, maintenance work such as boardwalk repair, drain clearance, removal of invasive species, litter picking, pruning, tree planting, bluebell seed collection and planting, etc.
During the last year, the Friends put in more than 200 volunteer hours, planted 210 trees, and raised £489 from the sale of Hob Hey Wood calendars.

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