Our nature reserves
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Management across the woodland reserves varies from limited intervention to very dynamic management. How actively we manage the site depends partly on its location and accessibility and partly also in order to provide a range of woodland conditions.
This range of management is important as many woodland species require habitats with varying structures and age ranges as they have developed relationships based on thousands of years of woodland management.
The management techniques we use include coppicing, thinning, creating glades and rides, all of which help vary the age structure and openness of the wood and allow different light levels to reach the ground flora.
Coppicing dates back for thousands of years. When trees are cut down they produce many fast-growing shoots or poles. These were traditionally used to make a variety of products including fence posts, hurdles, spars for thatched rooves, tool handles and walking sticks.
Coppicing benefits wildlife by increasing the light reaching the ground – in spring three to four times and in summer by up to 20 times. This burst of light kick-starts a range of plants into life, including bluebell, primrose, wood anemone, wood violet, St John’s wort and many others.
Wildlife that benefits include the rare and declining high brown and pearl bordered fritillary butterflies. Yellowhammers, linnets, whitethroats, garden warbler, willow warbler, nightingale, blackcap and chiffchaff are birds associated with coppice.