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Woodlands come in many forms.

Woodlands come in many forms.

by Chris ~ 15 May, 2015 ~ comments welcome

The amount of woodland in the U.K. has increased significantly in the last one hundred years. At the time of the first World War, woodland coverage was at an all time low of about 5%.  The coverage of woodlands now stands at about 12% - much is in the form of coniferous plantation (established to provide a stock of useable wood and timber).  Coniferous plantations were often established on poor quality / marginal land.

However, it is possible to recognise many different types of woodland in the U.K.   How these are described or categorised varies. There is, for example, the Peterken system of stand types* – this is based on the presence of long established tree species. It has 12 main (and 39 subsiduary) types of woodland.   Then, there is the National Vegetation Classification (the subject of a blog some time back) - this Read more...

Swiss forestry is growing, especially in the alps

Swiss forestry is growing, especially in the alps

by Angus ~ 4 November, 2013 ~ one comment

Forestry is a surprisingly important part of the Swiss economy and the sector employs 90,000 people, with 1.3 million hectares of Switzerland being given over to forestry.  To put this in a UK perspective, it is about the same amount of forestry land as Scotland and is a little more than England (which has 1.1 million hectares of forest).  The reason why Switzerland, smaller in size than England, has as much forestry land is that a much higher percentage of the countryside is given over to trees - Switzerland has 31% tree cover which is much more than England's 9% and is high even compared to Scotland which only has 17%.  In fact European countries are generally more forested than the UK - with Finland at a whopping 76% tree cover and even France is 27%, so Switzerland stands at just above the european average. Read more...

The effects of drought – go on and on.

The effects of drought – go on and on.

by Chris ~ 28 August, 2013 ~ one comment

With the recent spell of fine weather, some people may have wandered down memory lane and recalled “the summer of 76”.  Then, the temperature reached 80oF from June 22nd through to the 16th July, and for two weeks the temperatures in some areas exceeded 90oF.

However, temperature was not the only environmental factor to stress plants – lack of rainfall or drought was also a major factor.  The previous autumn had been quite dry, as was the winter of  1975–76.   The drought became most severe during the summer months - with woodland, forest and heath fires breaking out.  Crop production was also severely affected, and there was water rationing (and stand pipes) in some areas.

Ecologists* from the University of Stirling (Professor Alistair Jump) and the JNCC have recently investigated the (long term) effects of the 1976 drought on native woodland.   They examined the records of Lady Park Wood in the Wye Valley.  This 45 hectare Nature Reserve was ideal for a detailed study as there existed long term records  / surveys Read more...

Royal Forestry Society finds Furniture collection - at the Victoria and Albert

Royal Forestry Society finds Furniture collection – at the Victoria and Albert

by Angus ~ 15 August, 2013 ~ one comment

Nick Humphrey is the curator of the new furniture gallery at the V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum) and he points out the paradox that a museum thought of as specialising in furniture did not, until late last year, actually have a dedicated furniture gallery.   It has plenty of galleries for particular regions or cultures but it didn't have one just for furniture. This new furniture gallery is also arranged unusually - rather than looking at one period, is it set out by techniques of manufacture, so that there is a section on joints and others on carving and on finishes. Read more...

British hedges ( in woodlands, gardens and farms)

British hedges ( in woodlands, gardens and farms)

by Angus ~ 12 October, 2012 ~ 4 comments

We British like our hedges - perhaps it's part of the British reserve, keeping people at arms' length, or maybe it's because they are very functional for keeping stock in fields and marking boundaries. For wildlife, hedgerows have long been important avenues of local migration and hedges represent their own distinct habitat.

The attitude of the authorities towards hedges has undergone a roller coaster ride over the last 50 years. In the 1970s, the government were paying grants for the removal of hedges with the objective of encouraging the creation of larger fields to make agriculture more efficient - these were bad times for conservation - Oliver Rackham describes these as "the locust years".  More recently grants have been available for planting hedges and their unauthorised removal in the countryside has become a criminal offence with the Hedgerow Regulations of 1997. Read more...

A 'SWOG' visit to Ferriby Wood

A ‘SWOG’ visit to Ferriby Wood

by Dan ~ 27 May, 2012 ~ comments welcome

On a beautifully hot and sunny May day, Mike welcomed a group of existing and potential woodland owners to Ferriby Wood, in the Yorkshire Wolds.  The purpose of the gathering was to share experiences of woodland ownership.  Folks met at his clearing where a fire was burning and the kettle was on. After a cup of tea and an introductory chat, we set off on a guided tour.

Mike showed us how he has been managing his woodland in the five years since he bought it, looking first at a small section of coppiced ash.  He explained that he has been selling the poles to his local allotment association for use as bean poles, Read more...

Lath Wood

Lath Wood

by Robert S ~ 12 February, 2012 ~ 2 comments

My wife and I decided on the purchase of a small wood a few years ago.  We were able to research financial, legal and physical practicalities on-line and www.woodlands.co.uk was the most useful site in our search for a suitable wood. We visited nine or ten woods  across the South of England, from Devon in the West to Kent in the East.  We were looking for a wood between 3 and 6 acres up to a  spend of about £40K. Some people spend as much on a car, whilst for us non-drivers - a wood is a much better, permanent investment, especially when financial products are looking risky.

But we weren’t just looking for somewhere to bank money but a place of natural beauty and quietude to enjoy and preserve.   Our wood had to be accessible from London by public transport but still a rural gem away from built habitation.  We were ideally looking for a bluebell wood with a good mix of tree cover -- not a conifer plantation. Read more...

Ancient woodland

Ancient woodland

by Chris ~ 24 November, 2010 ~ 4 comments


In the U.K. about 11.8% of the land is covered by forest, (Thomas and Packham, Ecology of Woodlands and Forests). The amount of ancient woodland, within this, is very low.  Ancient woodland is also fragmented and dispersed.

Ancient woodland is a term that is applied to areas where trees have been present in the landscape for many hundreds of years, not necessarily as great continuous tracts but as discrete plots or areas. Read more...

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