Ancient woodland restoration

We have been working with landowners across the south east and east of England to help restore and revive planted ancient woodland sites (PAWS). This work is being carried out in partnership with the Woodland Trust who are running a countrywide Ancient Woodland Restoration Project.

In England and Wales, ancient woodland is defined as “an area that has been continuously wooded since the 1600’s”, unfortunately this valuable and irreplaceable habitat covers only 2% of the UK. Much of our ancient woodland was felled during the first and second world wars to secure timber stock for the future, many of these sites were then replanted with non-native conifer species in the 1950s and 60s (PAWS). A densely planted conifer stand can negatively impact a woodland, through year round shading and soil acidification from dropped conifer needles, additionally, significant damage can be caused by commercial activities. However, conifer species do not need to be completely removed from ancient woodlands as they offer diversity, landscape and nesting opportunities within the wood.

The aim of the Ancient Woodland Restoration Project is to identify important surviving woodland features such as deadwood, specialist flora and archaeological features as well as the identifying the risks such as pests, coarse vegetation and invasive species. In addition, the project identifies areas where conifers are causing harm and where they are in low quantities and providing diversity.

The project allows us to provide a free service to PAWS landowners which includes a woodland survey, a report which provides recommendations to help landowners achieve their goals for the woodland whilst being sensitive to the surviving features, and a set of maps that show where to prioritise work. If you would like further information about the project please visit the Woodland Trusts website or give us a call.