Ivy, holly, yew and mistletoe are all important features of scrub and woodland. They provide important food and cover for wildlife and a splash of green amongst the bare canopies of our deciduous trees this time of year. When out on site one of our Rangers spotted visitors at Crickley Hill collecting greenery for decoration this time of year. Just the odd branch and we may not have noticed but the visitors had collected three bin bags full of vegetation. Whether it is for home, school or sale this type of activity can have a negative impact on our sites and we would discourage anyone collecting large quantities of vegetation.
Crickley Hill is an important habitat and is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to the wildlife and plants that live there. It is important to preserve this site and our other countryside sites for the enjoyment of the public but also for the habitation of wildlife.
Greenery with berries is especially attractive to people for use as decoration, however these are the most important branches for providing a source of food for wildlife at this time of time year. Mistle thrush eat the white berries of mistletoe and holly bushes can chatter and chirr with flocks of redwing and fieldfare. If you want to share a kiss under the mistletoe this Christmas then perhaps take the opportunity out on a walk when you come across it growing naturally in the wild.
This is our Ranger plea to ask all of our visitors to be responsible for the countryside and what they take from it. As the saying goes: leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but photographs.