Broadleaved woodland of native species of trees and shrubs
provides a very rich habitat which supports a wide range
of plant and animal wildlife. Mosses, fungi, beetles, mammals
and birds are most abundant. Planted woodlands quickly take
on the visual appearance of being established although it
takes many decades before they develop the variety of structures
and micro-habitats of glades, dead wood, ground flora and
natural regeneration which provides for the rich tapestry
of woodland wildlife.
On limestone sites a typical woodland would comprise ash and
lime trees together with hazel shrubs in the understory. The
exact make up of the woodlands will vary from the north to
the south of Britain. Ash comes into leaf late in spring and
then casts only a light shade, in consequence a good number
of flowers grow in ash woodlands.
On wetter lowland sites woodland is dominated by alder and
willow with oak and birch where it becomes slightly drier.
A daleside ash woodland.
These woodlands can develop relatively rapidly and in the moist
air the trees will be covered in a range of mosses and lichens
species within a few years. Young woodlands can be helped to ‘age’ by
the felling of trees to create glades and piles of deadwood
which will be used by fungi, mosses and beetles as they slowly
rot down. Bird and bat boxes can be erected to substitute for
the lack of natural holes in tree trunks.