WORK is going ahead to restore ancient woodland near Ledbury to its original state, on behalf of the local community.

The aim is also to create a sustainable working woodland, as a model for others.

GROUND preparation is underway for Dymock Forest's Centenary Glade Project, at Queens Wood.

The Heritage Lottery Funded Project aims to show "how ancient woodland can be managed for the benefit of both local people and nature, within a sustainable forestry enterprise".

Programme director, Chris Bligh, writing in the parish "Windcross" magazine for the Dymock area, said: "A more open and mixed-age forest canopy will be created, with a lower shrub layer to benefit moths and butterflies.

"More light will allow different plant species to flourish, including the wild daffodil, anemone and meadow species."

He added: "Rare and endangered creatures such as the dormouse, woodcock and goshawk are already present in Dymock Forest.

"We aim to create a valuable monitoring site for best woodland renovation practice; the forest will continue to be working landscape which coppicing and mature timber extraction takes place, showing how these activities and wildlife can co-exist."

Last month, Community Payback volunteers from Ross set the ball rolling by removing brambles and tree stumps and creating a hedge from vegetation for birds and invertebrates.

Further site clearance work will take place this month.

The official launch event will be later this autumn, when there will be guided tours for anyone interested in getting involved.

Another conservation operation in the woodland has involved dredging the lake below Kempley car park.

Mr Bligh said: "The lake had become invaded by creeping rhizomes of water horsetail, clogging up the waterway.

A boom excavator was used by by a contractor for this work.

The lake is not particularly old, being created back in 1976, as a water resource for fighting forest fires.

But it is known for its attractive beds of lilies, which flower in warmer months.