Wonderful woodlands cpt Matthew Roberts
Woodland in springtime is one of the great spectacles of nature, full of birdsong and the soft green of new leaves.
Bill Oddie OBE, The Wildlife Trusts’ Vice President, offers his advice on the best time to visit a woodland:
"Early spring, when the shapes of the branches are still clear but they are spangled with new buds. The birds are singing and you can see them, which isn't so easy once the trees are in full leaf."
The Wildlife Trusts look after more than 400 woodlands across the UK - from flower-strewn ancient woodlands to wild coastal woods, damp and rich in lichen and moss. Thousands of years of land management have changed and dramatically reduced the UK’s woodlands, but The Wildlife Trusts manage woodland sympathetically.
A mix of coppicing, scrub-cutting and ride maintenance, alongside abstaining from action all help woodland wildlife to thrive.
You can find out about woods local to you via your Wildlife Trust's website .
Some woods are the remnants of once ancient woodlands and, if consistantly managed over the years, you may find evidence of old trees towards the centre. Ancient woodlands , providing shelter and a distinct habitat for hundreds of years, are home to carpets of wood anemones, wild garlic and bluebells , and the rare herb-Paris.
"How to get the best out of a wood? Take photos, all through the year, in different light and weather, both close up and wide. Notice shapes and textures. Look at a wood as a work of art. Which it is!”
We have compiled a list of our favourate woodland walks across the country. Take a look
and see if there's a woodland near you.
Come and join us at one of our events too. See what's happening on your patch here.
You can learn about the different kinds of woodland you can find across the UK by clicking the images below.
Don't forget the small stuff.
This spring, as well as celebrating woodland’s showy species, how about looking for the quiet ones, the little grey ones, the ones that hide under rocks?
They too are part of life and the energy that pours through a temperate wood in spring and, if our eyes and ears are open, our own relationship with woods is more profound by far.
If the humans all left, much of our landscape would be woodland again within 50 years, bursting, bulging and bustling with all the species which love woods.
Woodland is home to more species than any other terrestrial habitat in the UK. This is partly because it is the most structurally diverse, with microhabitats from the topsoil to the leafy canopy of oaks, ashes and beeches, and partly because it is the natural habitat of most of the UK.
Get to know your woods with the Wildlife Watch! Have a look at our habitats page!
Woodlands are truly amazing – where else can you walk through a landscape of plants that weigh tons and are bigger than houses? A landscape of living beings some of which may be centuries old!
Woodlands are also useful – they take CO2 from the atmosphere and help mop up pollutants from the air while at the same time providing us with timber and wood; renewable resources with lots of uses from fuel to furniture.
Best of all they are great for wildlife supporting a huge diversity of plants, animals and fungi. They are also beautiful places to explore in all seasons. Look out for broadleaved woods composed of deciduous trees, mixed woods (with both broadleaves and conifers) and conifer woods which may often be plantations of non-native timber trees, though in Scotland there are large areas of native Scots Pine forest which support lots of wildlife
The woodlands are home to hundreds of species. Take a look at what you might find!