ALDER Coppice woods in Sedgley will soon gain local nature reserve status thanks to the hard work of a friends group.

The wood, off the Northway, is about to be formally recognised after Dudley Council submitted an application to Natural England.

The ancient woodland has found a new lease of life thanks to the work of the Friends of Alder Coppice group, led by wildlife lover Simon Biggs, who decided that more should be done to develop and promote the use of the 25 acres ancient woodland.

Since its formation, the Friends have maintained the woodland for visitors, attracted funding and seen the woods be used by nearby Northway GP surgery as place for patients to de-stress.

Simon Biggs, Chair of the Friends of Alder Coppice Nature Reserve, said: "Since I started the friends group back in 2012, local residents, many of them retired, have given up their own time and a lot of their own effort to make the nature reserve a reality.

"From the start, it was about opening up the woodland for the benefit of the community and handing something worthwhile onto the next generation for their enjoyment.

"Residents who had nodded to each other for years now began to chat and many new and lasting friendships have been formed. The woodland is a wonderful place to visit and is already giving so much to this community."

Visitors to the site can spot woodpeckers, badgers, foxes, Muntjack deer and a whole host of wild flower and fungi, while its bluebell season is known as one of the best displays in the area.

Mayor of Dudley, Councillor David Stanley, said: "It’s such wonderful news to hear that the beautiful Alder Coppice woodland is set to be recognised as a local nature reserve.

"It’s testament to the hard work, innovation and energy of the friends group that they have made this happen.

"While as a council we continue to maintain the reserve and support the friends group, it just shows how everyone can benefit when we work together to create something for the whole community to enjoy."

A formal declaration from Natural England is expected within the next few weeks.