The ants living in Buckinghamshire woods are about to become global stars.

Wood ants in Burnham Beeches are the unlikely stars of the Woodland episode of Sir David Attenborough’s new Wild Isles nature series.

Broadcast on BBC One last Sunday (March 19), the episode shows the determined ants defending themselves against predators, climbing trees to eat caterpillars, and collecting honey dew from aphids.

Narrator Sir Attenborough said in the documentary: “The presence of the ants is a sure sign of a healthy forest.”

Burnham Beeches is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a National Nature Reserve, and a Special Area of Conservation – an ideal home for hidden species like ants and spiders.

Latest survey of the ancient woods in 2020-21 revealed more than 500 wood ant nests.

The site is managed by the City of London Corporation as a registered charity protecting more than 11,000 acres of open space in London and south east England.

Rangers at Burnham Beeches are now restoring areas that were once open woodland called wood pastures, creating perfect conditions for wood ants to build nests in sunny glades.

They can protect trees by eating caterpillars, which eat their leaves. And rare species of beetle and spider live in the ants’ nests

They are using British white cattle and Exmoor ponies to graze the land to prevent it from overgrowth.

Burnham Beeches forms part of The Commons together with Stoke Common, Ashtead Common, West Wickham and Coulsdon Commons, Farthing Downs, Kenley Common, Riddlesdown and Spring Park managed by the Corporation.