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Hidon Wood

Commandos go to war on overgrown wood
Royal Marine commandos armed with chainsaws are helping Clayhidon Parish Council create new woodland walks. 
Hidon Wood was bought by the council for the Parish about 10 years ago. Some work was done in the woodland at the time, but since then it has become completely overgrown with holly and birch.
The Parish Council, under the expert guidance of John Greenshields, the Blackdown Hills Woodlands Coordinator, started a project a year ago to restore the woodland. It will take several years to complete. 
Royal Marines of the Commando Training Centre in Lympstone were invited to carry out some much needed tree-felling work, as part of their Assault Engineer training. 
A small part of the nine-week course is dedicated to chainsaw training and enables them to carry out tree felling tasks in any environment in the world including jungle operations and disaster relief.
Colour Sergeant K. Bateman, their chief instructor, said the constricted location meant tree felling in Hidon Wood had been “easier said than done”. “Safety was also paramount as the marines had to fell a number of high ‘hung-up’ trees.” 
Parish councillor Sue Hay said: “There are some old and exceptional trees in the wood and the plan is to clear around these to enable them to thrive and at the same time open up a path through the wood. 
“The work that has been done so far has already made the area more attractive to the birds and it is hoped that it won’t be too long before we see the return of many native woodland plants such as bluebells, which have been shaded out by the holly.” 
She said the Marines had made “a huge contribution to phase 2 of the project”. 
“Parishioners will be able to enjoy walking in the woods when the work is completed but we ask that, for safety reasons, they wait until the tree felling work is completed,” said Sue.

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