How to make a difference
Spotting a deer, finding mushrooms, or identifying wildflowers - these are great experiences but you can do them anywhere. With your own woodland you can take action by putting up bat boxes, planting for bees and butterflies, or by digging a pond. We give support to any owners doing conservation work and we send all new owners a couple of books which we sponsored - "Managing Woodland for Wildlife" and "Getting started in a Wood of your own."
Resources and technology
You will also learn a lot "on the job". Oliver Rackham, a renowned woodland expert, commented about wildlife management that "the more you look the more you see." And that's even more true of your own woodland because you see the same woodland through the seasons and in different weathers; it's also the perfect place to help children or grandchildren get away from their screens and start to appreciate nature. But technology does have a role for many woodland owners who use trailcams to record badgers and deer at night time, or for those who use drones to view the upper canopy. And almost everyone uses a smartphone to record what they find in their wood. Lots of owners have set up their own websites or Instagrams - and many send pictures for the Woodlands.co.uk Instagram.
To fell or not to fell?
Traditional forestry management in the UK involved growing a single-species crop and clear-felling it 40 years later before replanting with a similar crop. Many smaller woodlands were also managed on this basis, but in recent years the European model of "continuous cover" has been more widely adopted partly for landscape reasons but also to support wildlife. In this model mature trees are only felled on an individual basis and replacement trees are either planted or regenerate naturally. For most owners of smaller woodlands this approach will be most appealing - keeping the tree canopy in place and maintaining the woodland cover continuously. This also allows a wider range of tree species and is more encouraging for wildlife, both animals and plants.
Extra help with wildlife
Every woodland is different and most have some protected species in them. One of the best sources of advice and help is neighbouring owners. Another is the county wildlife trusts and focused charities such as the People's Trust for Endangered Species, or the various re-wilding projects. Some simple changes can be hugely helpful to wildlife such as widening tracks and encouraging a diversity of tree species. To help with wildlife conservation we set up a youtube channel, WoodlandsTV, with hundreds of films, including ideas for things you can do in woodlands and how-to guides for wildlife management.