Higher Elker Woods, Billington  22 acres  Grid Ref:  SD714353

This is the largest of the Trust's sites, and the youngest. It is situated between the two settlements of Billington and Langho.  This area of grazing land was acquired in the mid-1990s. Three main areas have been enclosed and planted with native trees and shrubs. The remaining, unplanted areas continue to be grazed by sheep, providing a small income for the Trust.   A stream borders the western edge and a smaller stream runs through the middle section.

 

One of the wooded areas is planted with native Silver Birch which can provide food and habitat for more than 300 insect species - the leaves attract aphids, providing food for ladybirds and other species further up the food chain, and are also a food plant for the caterpillars of many moths. Birch trees are particularly associated with specific fungi.  Woodpeckers and other hole-nesting birds often nest in the trunk, while the seeds are eaten by siskins, greenfinches and redpolls.

 

As the woodland areas develop and mature they support a large diversity of insect, mammal and bird species.

 

The poem on the Foundation stone is 'Cut Grass' by the English poet and novelist Philip Larkin (1922 -1985), written in 1971.  It captures, in two short sentences, the transient beauty of an English June day with a wistful perfection.