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Finding Britain's 'shadow woods' offers the fastest way to reforest the countryside

By Ian D. Rotherham, Professor of Environmental Geography and Reader in Tourism and Environmental Change, Sheffield Hallam University
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When William the Conqueror surveyed his new kingdom in 1086, from lowland to upland, Britain was covered with trees. In low-lying Yorkshire, the East Anglian Fens and the Somerset Levels, wet woods of tall white willows and alders lined great rivers. On windswept highlands in the Pennines, north Yorkshire and Cumbria, goat willows shed fuzzy catkins in downy blankets and dead leaves of wintertime moor-grass formed dense carpets.

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