A 30-acre extension to the ecologically invaluable ancient woodland in Ruislip has been granted National Nature Reserve status.
In October 2020 the council acquired Copse Wood, a 30-acre section of ancient semi-natural woodland in Ruislip Woods so that it could be managed and protected for future generations to enjoy.
This week, Natural England has extended the existing National Nature Reserve boundary of Ruislip Woods to encompass the new section, giving it the same level of important protection. To add to the celebrations, the declaration marks the 25th anniversary of the original designation for the woods.
The woods, which are owned by the council, became the first of London’s three National Nature Reserve in May 1997. These were established to protect some of the UK’s most important habitats, species, geology and provide outdoor laboratories for research.
Ruislip Woods has a diverse and species-rich ancient woodland and provides opportunities for schools, residents, visitors, specialist interest groups to experience wildlife and ancient woodland.
Cllr Eddie Lavery, Hillingdon Council’s Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services, said: “We are delighted that the NNR status for Ruislip Woods has been extended, so that even more of this invaluable landscape gets the best possible protection for future generations.
“Ruislip Woods provides inspiration for residents and visitors of any age, from the majesty of its coppiced oak and hornbeam trees, to the wealth of wildlife that thrives there too.
“We’re grateful to Natural England for partnering with us in ensuring this critical piece of woodland is preserved and enjoyed for decades to come.”
The woods lie adjacent to popular Ruislip Lido and provide welcome shade and somewhere else to explore and enjoy for the many visitors to the site each year.
Allison Potts, Thames Solent Area Manager at Natural England, said: “The extension of Ruislip Woods National Nature Reserve 25 years on from its initial declaration is a celebration of this wonderful natural asset in our capital city.
“This urban National Nature Reserve provides space for some of our ancient semi-natural woodland and also a place for people to connect with the natural world.”
Last year, the Woodland Centre on the site was given a visitor-focused makeover to help residents discover more about Ruislip Woods and local wildlife.
New interactive displays, boards and hands-on activities were installed to educate visitors of all ages and inspire them to get out and explore the woods, and understand more about the trees, plants and animals they will discover.