It is a good idea to make a note of all the species you see in the first few visits to a new habitat so that in a few years time and latter you can compare back to your starting point and see if anything has changed. This is especially important if you are going to undertake any management as then you can make an assessment as to whether the management has been beneficial or not.
This wood is predominantly Corsican Pine which is about 45 to 50 years old and ready to be felled. It is my intention to attempt to turn this woodland into a mixed woodland and it may return to something approaching ancient woodland, however that will be for future generations to see and enjoy, maybe.
So here is the species list subdivided into Trees, Shrubs, Field layer and Ground layer.
Also species in italics have been seen after the felling was completed
Corsican Pine, Beech, Oak, Silver Birch, Rowan. There is one Larch and one Sycamore
Laurel, Rhododendron, Honeysuckle, Ivy, Bramble, Holly, Hawthorn, Hazel. I am removing the Rhododendron and Laurel fairly quickly.
Bracken, Buckler Fern (Broad I think), Polypody, Hard Fern, Male Fern, Bilberry, Bluebell, Wood Sorrel, Wood Anemone, Red Campion, Foxglove, (Yellow Archangel) Hairy Woodrush. Soft Rush, Yorkshire Fog, Fescue (Greater?) Rosebay Willow Herb, Heath Bedstraw
I will add to this as there are other less interesting species like grasses and rushes and more types of moss. What is particularly significant is the field layer species, particularly the presence of Bluebell, Wood anemone, Wood Sorrel and Yellow archangel which indicates that this site has probably had woodland on it for many hundreds of years. Unfortunately the Yellow Archangel is a garden cultivar, a variegated version.
Birds and Animals Due to the dense growth of Corsican pine this woodland does not support much wildlife, infact the majority of species are seen around the perimeter where there are some reasonable deciduous species.
Birds; Robin, Great Tit, Wood Pigeon, Buzzard, Chiffchaff, Wren, Jay, Great Spotted Woodpecker May 2014, Barn Swallow May 2014, Tree creeper May 2014 Green Woodpecker Sept 2014 Grey Wagtail Sept 2014 Blue Tit Sept 2014
Mammals; Grey Squirrel Rabbit, evidence of Deer, footprints and droppings. Fox
Amphibians; Common Frog. June 2014.
Invertebrates; Banded snail, Small Cabbage White. May 2014
I suspect that this was ancient woodland until about 1930 ******* when it was felled and planted with Pine, probably Scots Pine, these would have been felled in the 1970’s and replanted with Corsican Pine, which is what is there now. There are a lot of fairly rotten stumps presumably the remnants of the trees that were felled 40 years ago. However I have not discovered any remnants of large deciduous trees that might have been felled in the 1930’s. It is possible that they may have completely disappeared but I would have thought that there would still be some remains of a large Oak stump, after 80 years.
Today I have started to clear some of the scrub with my new brush cutter and produce a path through the middle of the wood. This will make it easier to get the felled trees out and us in.
As the Pines are removed the young Oaks and Beech trees will grow on and probably at quite a fast rate, Also I would expect that the Field layer plants will proliferate. What might happen is that seeds that have been dormant for many years might germinate and new species will be added to the species list.
****** Update.. I now think it was ancient woodland until about 1920 and then along with a lot of Forestry activity after the first world war, it was felled and planted with conifers, these were then felled in the late 1960’s and replanted, so that by 2014 the present Corsican pines would be about 55 years old.