- Habitats explorer
Woodland - UK Garden Photos
Red and gold rustling leaves, weirdly shaped fungi, the smell of damp mosses… A walk through a wood on a bright autumnal day can bring joy to the heart. But the trees of our woodlands have a much deeper story to tell – one of fascinating creatures and ancient practices.
Steeped in history
Our woodlands range in age from long-standing forests through which our ancestors hunted to modern-day plantations which provide materials for building and paper. ‘Ancient woodlands’ have been under continuous tree cover for hundreds of years and often contain plants that are rarely found elsewhere, such as the unassuming herb-Paris.
Different trees characterise our woodlands too. Broadleaved woods are composed of deciduous trees, mixed woods of both deciduous and coniferous trees, and pine woods often of non-native trees planted for timber.
From dawn to dusk
Our woodlands come alive at dawn – tawny owls hoot to each other, and wrens, blackcaps and warblers fill the air with song. Great spotted woodpeckers, treecreepers and jays visit broadleaved and mixed woods, while goldcrests and rare crossbills flit between the trees of conifer forests.
During the day, small herds of roe and fallow deer roam between the tree trunks of our mixed woods, red squirrels bustle around the treetops in pine woods and butterflies alight on flowers at the forest floor. As night descends, mammals like foxes, bats, badgers and dormice come out to forage and hunt.
In woodlands, dead and rotting wood is important for fungi and insects like the impressively horned stag beetle. But it’s the flowers that our forests are really famous for. Carpets of bluebells herald the spring, hoards of white ramsons fill the air with the exciting scent of garlic and pretty wood anemones line the paths.
How we’re helping
Thousands of years of land management have dramatically reduced the UK’s woodlands. But The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves sympathetically, and encourage others to do so, too. A mix of coppicing, scrub-cutting, ride maintenance and non-intervention all help woodland wildlife to thrive.
You can help: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from traditional forest crafts to raising awareness about woodland animals.
Typical woodland wildlife
Tawny owl, sparrowhawk, great spotted woodpecker, treecreeper, nuthatch, jay, blackcap, garden warbler, nightingale, goldcrest, coal tit, crossbill, firecrest, roe deer, red deer, badger, fox, grey squirrel, red squirrel, wood mouse, dormouse, bluebell, wood sorrel, early-purple orchid, wood anemone, dog’s mercury, primrose, herb-Paris, red campion, oak, ash, beech, field maple, hornbeam, birch, Scots pine, lesser stag beetle.