Birds at a woodland area in Epping have got a dozen new homes to nest in thanks to the efforts of a disability woodworking project.

Voluntary Action Epping Forest's Ace Activities (ACE) scheme has been commissioned by The Friends of Swaines Green to produce 12 new bird boxes for the Swaines Green site.

This 22-acre area on the western side of Epping comprises mixed woodland, scrub and open meadow providing a habitat for a wealth of trees, plants, and wildlife.

As the woodland is comparatively young, there are few naturally occurring tree holes that birds can nest in. So putting up nest boxes helps encourage birds, particularly Blue Tits and Great Tits, to move into the area and rear their young. Last year, the 18 bird boxes were home to more than 80 chicks.

Sally Panrucker from VAEF’s Ace Activities said: "We are delighted to have provided excellent quality nest boxes for Swaines Green and look forward to finding about the birds that nest there. I am sure that our members will get a true sense of pride and satisfaction being involved from the start of this exciting project”.

Local naturalist Roger Emmens, a member of the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), oversees the birdlife on the site. His study tracks where different types of birds nest and how many chicks they rear each year. The data he collects is forwarded to the BTO for inclusion in their nationwide surveys.

“The Friends of Swaines Green were delighted to be able to commission Ace Activities to produce 12 new boxes to add more potential homes for our birds and expand the scope of the study,” Roger said. “They did a great job and the nest boxes they produced are really excellent.

"We’ll be keeping in touch with the Ace groups and are looking forward to showing them how we put identifying rings on the chicks and record their data. I can’t thank them enough for the contribution they have made to this important local bird study.”

The Riverside Timber Recycling Project works in partnership with ACE providing a workspace, materials and guidance for woodworking projects to upcycle furniture and make items for sale out of reclaimed wood.

Ace Activities offers a full range of supported activities and training programmes for over 18s with learning disabilities, mental health issues, autism and anxiety disorders.