Landscape Working in Action – Thornley Wood

Anne Porter Heart of Durham, News

As far as woods go, Thornley Wood, is really not a wood at all but a collection of brash piles and dead hedges with mud and nettles in between. Change is on the horizon; Durham Wildlife Trust & Wolsingham Parish Council have partnered to secure a Woodland Trust Grant and funding from Weardale Area Action Partnership to help with the purchase and plant of 1,100 broad-leaved trees. This mix of broad-leaved trees will provide colour throughout the seasons as well as spring blossom and autumn fruits. The trees will provide shelter for a range of insects and birds and will help to make the wood an enjoyable place to visit.


Volunteers help to replant and reclaim Thornley Wood

Volunteers from Northumbrian Water’s ‘Just an Hour’ scheme joined forces with volunteers from the Heart of Durham project and from the Heathland Heartlands projects to bring about the much anticipated change to the woodland area. 105 trees were planted by the volunteers on Friday 18th November.


Volunteers from Northumbrian Water, Heart of Durham and Heathland Heartlands pause briefly for a picture

Why is Durham Wildlife Trust involved with Thornley Wood?

Thornley Wood is owned by Wolsingham Parish Council, the council approached Durham Wildlife Trust’s Heart of Durham Project for advice on how to best replant the woodland area. The project will be very much rooted in the local community; in the New year pupils from Tow Law Millennium School will come and plant trees, giving ownership to the next generation who will be able to see the trees mature in their lifetime.

Our involvement in this very important project ensures that we can help to shape the landscape to best work for wildlife, for the local community and for future generations.

Working in partnership with land owners to create wildlife corridors and landscapes in which our wildlife species can thrive is crucially important. These wildlife corridors are especially important for butterflies and reptiles as they are only capable of moving slowly over short distances. Working at Thornley Wood is another valuable piece of the jigsaw.


Northumbrian Water’s ‘Just an Hour’ team



Volunteers build a brash hedge


Brash piles are one way of getting rid of the wood debris whilst providing additional habitat for wildlife


If you would like to get involved in planting trees at Thornley Wood, Tow Law then please contact Anne Porter, Heart of Durham Project Officer, by email on or by telephone on 01388 488740

Anne Porter

Anne Porter initially joined the Heart of Durham project as a volunteer, helping to carry out adder surveys on an 8-week placement as part of a post-graduate degree in Environmental Management. Anne’s dedication and enthusiasm for her work continues to inspire people of all ages to get involved nature conservation.