Ancient Woodlands

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Topcat02

Settler
Aug 9, 2005
608
2
54
Dymock, Gloucestershire
Hi Everyone,

A friend and I wander around some local woods in Herefordshire that are apparently listed as Sites of Scientific Interest (SSI), They are amazing, and contain huge oak trees 40M+ tall. (I suppose I ought to clarify that only certain areas of the woods are designated, other areas are coppiced, mature trees cut, and the area is criss-crossed with proper paths as well as animal, and bushcrafter ones). I was surprised to count seven shelters on my last walkabout.

Trouble is we're pretty much amateurs, and have limited idea of what tree can be used for what purpose, what animal made what print, etc.

Are there any members who live in the Herefordshire area, who would be interested in a Saturday afternoon ramble at one of these woods, highlighting plants/trees/fungi etc that would be of interest to bushrafters.

We would be happy to cover the costs of travel, and I'm sure that there would be other members who would be happy to try out a new wood and have a forage themselves.

I'll drop a couple of links to the woods I have in mind, and await a response (hopefully!)

Thx

TopCat


First one is Haugh Woods

Hereford
Herefordshire
England
Hereford City Or Woolhope Village is the nearest town or village.
OS Grid Reference: SO 593365 SMALL PEARL- BORDERD FRITLLARYThe name Haugh, which is pronounced "Hoff" is derived from the name of a Saxon owner indicating that this is the site of an ancient wood. Haugh Woods at nearly 350 hectares (850 acres) is nationally important for butterflies and moths, with over 600 species recorded within it. This makes the wood one of the top 10 woods in the country and is designated as a SSSI due to the presence of these invertebrates.

How to get there:
Via the B4224 Ross-on-Wye to Hereford road. Follow the signs from Mordiford. There is a railway station in Hereford.

Second Wood, which is close by is "Lea & Paget Woods".


Visitor Guidelines


While the upper paths remain generally dry in spring and summer, the low-lying main track seems to remain permanently damp, and can be very muddy and treacherous in places in winter. Take extra care in the vicinity of the old quarry in Church Wood. This is partly fenced off, but there are still unguarded near-vertical drops.


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Description


Situated on the south-western slopes of the Woolhope Dome, Lea & Pagets Wood is arguably one of the finest ancient, semi-natural, broad-leaved woodlands left in the Wye valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Its ancient status is not in doubt, with the name Lea itself (meaning forest or wood) indicating possible pre-Anglo-Saxon origins and the woodland flora contains a large number of ancient woodland indicator species. Silurian limestone underlies much of the site and the associated soils are medium-heavy, calcareous, and free-draining. Quicklime was manufactured here in the 19th. century, and two lime kilns, possibly dating from 1833, are found near the reserve entrance. A well-marked track runs from the kilns to the disused limestone quarry in Church Wood. In some areas the surface soils have become heavily leached and the base content is much reduced. The valley bottom in Pagets Wood is poorly drained and collects water run-off from the surrounding slopes. In earlier times the wood was much larger, with Pagets Wood extending down to the main B4224 road.

The wood has a complex structure, dominated partly by Sessile Oak and partly by Ash, with other tree species mixed in, particularly Wild Cherry, Yew, Silver Birch and Wild Service. The woodland understorey is mainly composed of Hazel and Field Maple, together with some Hawthorn, Holly, Crab-apple and Spindle, and occasional coppiced Wych Elms. Near the wood boundaries both Large and Small-leaved Limes occur. In some areas, particularly in Pagets Wood, coppiced Sweet Chestnut is abundant as a result of 19th. century plantings. An area of Alders occurs in the north-west section of the reserve, associated with the tufa-depositing stream running in the valley bottom of Pagets Wood. Large and spectacular drifts of Bluebells make a fine show in springtime, mixed in with impressive numbers of ancient woodland indicators like Wood Anemone and Early Purple Orchids. Many other interesting plants indicative of old woods add to the botanical diversity, including Herb Paris, Wild Daffodil, Sanicle, Wild Liquorice and Greater Butterfly Orchid. In 2001 a single frond of the very scarce Moonwort fern was found off the main track in Pagets Wood.

Lea & Pagets is also good for birds, with a small breeding population of Pied Flycatchers in nest-boxes, and a fine range of typical woodland species. These include all three woodpecker species (although Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers have not been recorded for some years) and warblers such as Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and the occasional Wood Warbler. Nuthatches, Treecreepers, Marsh Tits, Jays, Buzzards, Tawny Owls and Sparrowhawks are all frequently seen.

Apart from common species like Green-veined White, Orange Tip, and Speckled Wood, Lea & Pagets is home to a number of less usual butterflies. Brimstones, White Admirals and Wood Whites maintain small populations here, and this is a good place to see the spectacular Silver-washed Fritillary nectar-feeding on brambles.

The wood has an excellent mammal fauna, including a thriving population of Dormice. Other small mammals present in some numbers are Wood Mouse, Yellow-necked Mouse, Bank Vole and Common Shrew. Foxes and Badgers are also present, while groups of Fallow Deer are frequently seen. The bat population is little known, but the recent installation of bat boxes should help to boost numbers and allow identification of the various species present. Recent surveys have revealed that Lea & Pagets is rich in other taxonomic groups too. Over 30 species of mollusc have been recorded, with a typical range of species inhabiting lime-rich woodland, while a recent fungus survey found 106 different species (including Myxomycetes and Lichens). In 2002 a survey of beetles present revealed a rich variety including four scarce species and the very rare Agathidium confusum.

Thx
 

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