Oaken Woods, Maidstone
A week ago I went to Oaken Wood in Barming, near Maidstone, Kent to visit some ancient woodlands and do some eco-work with some friends. It was a bit of an adventure as we were meeting some people for the first time but we established an instant rapport because we were all united in our love and concern for the forest.
The Kent Wildlife Trust oppose an extension of quarrying by Gallagher Aggregate Ltd which will mean destroying 31 hectares of ancient woodland. Ancient woodland is a valuable biodiversity resource because of the diversity of species and for its longevity as woodland. Once destroyed, ancient cannot be replaced. If it is destroyed naturally we have reason to be saddened but if humans destroy it we have reason to be outraged.
Gallagher Aggregates Ltd insists that Oaken Wood’s Chestnut coppice ‘does not provide a particularly valued habitat for wildlife’
Eric Pickles is the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. He has approved the quarry extension plan. This decision is crucial as it tested the new planning regulations introduced recently which “legitimise” building on ancient woodland.
Sue Holden, chief executive of the Woodland Trust is concerned as this sets a precedent which means that no woodland is immune from destruction by developers.
Wikipedia informs us that Eric Pickles is a flag enthusiast.
“On 14 May 2011, at the Flag Institute Spring Meeting, Pickles announced a consultation aimed at “Making it easier for people to celebrate an identity or an organisation that means something to them.”
Well, I think people need to create and fly flags for Oaken Wood and all ancient forests that are now under threat.
We will be visiting Oaken Wood again and I will post again.
Look at the two pictures above. Which appeals to you the most?