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Woodlands of Herefordshire course 

by David Lovelace david@tilia.org.uk 01544 318138.

After 3 years (2009 - 2011) of putting on this course (see below) I’ve taken a break for a few years to devote more time to research and other matters. The course was going to be re-launched with new material and ways of presenting it for autumn 2015 but with this year’s current work load I'm now planning for autumn 2017.

This was the old course content.

Course outline       Book List and web links

Session 1    

Course introduction. Origins of Herefordshire woodlands from ice-age to Domesday. The nature of prehistoric woodland in England, archaeological evidence in Herefordshire, pollen analysis, early documentary evidence.

Session 2    

Forest, wood, park and chase. What was Medieval woodland in Herefordshire really like? Obtaining, translating and interpreting original manuscript evidence. How the digital revolution has made historical sources newly accessible. Reading the landscape.

Session 3    

Case studies in Herefordshire Medieval woodland. Insights into land use within the ‘boscus’: wood pasture, common rights, hunting, administration, crime, wood, timber and other products.

Session 4    

Herefordshire woodlands in Tudor and Stuart times. Impact of the dissolution of the monasteries, decline and transformation of the Medieval woodland and park. Development of commercial and industrial uses of woodland. Examination of Herefordshire’s charcoal-iron industry and its impact on woodlands, a study in sustainable production.

Sessions 5 and 6    

Georgian and Victorian eras. Estate woodlands in the era of classic coppice with standards. Markets including the bark trade, barrel making, hop poles and naval timber. Trees and parks for pleasure and status, the influences of the ‘picturesque’ and ‘formal’ schools of landscape appreciation and planning. Decline of coppice, rise of game rearing.

Session 7    

Herefordshire woodlands in the first part of the 20th century. Effects of the two world wars, creation of Forestry Commission, the development of national forestry policy, the first state-planned plantations in Herefordshire. Cumulative impacts on Herefordshire woodlands and parkland.

Session 8    

Post-war forestry and conservation. The 1953 census of Herefordshire woods, the county’s first and only comprehensive woodland survey, relevance for contemporary management and restoration. Impact of modern forestry on Herefordshire woodlands. The 1985 ‘Broadleaves Policy’, the concept of ‘ancient woodland’ and its effects on woodlands.

Break for Christmas and new year

Session 9    

Woodland management: Silvicultural systems from clearfell to ‘continuous cover forestry’. Restocking methods. Forestry economics, markets for timber and wood. Forestry pests and tree diseases. (Session lecturer Graham Taylor of Pryor and Rickett Silviculture)

Session 10    

Woodland ecology. Soils, stand types and species composition in Herefordshire native woodland. Ancient woodland indicators. Invertebrates: butterflies and moths. Woodland birds and mammals.

Session 11    

Techniques of woodland survey, monitoring and planning, Stand characteristics, timber volume, data-logging, digital mapping, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), use of GPS, aerial photography and re-locatable transects. Use of LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) to reveal under-canopy archaeology.

Session 12    

Restoring damaged woodland and countering threats. Case studies in woodland restoration, wood-pasture and parkland. Incorporating historical and archaeological information to inform management plans. Modern threats to woodlands including squirrels, deer, climate change, inappropriate management, neglect, development and visitor pressure.

Session 13    

Future of Herefordshire woodlands, strategy and policy: Current woodland policy, the role of statutory bodies, Forestry Commission, Natural England, local authorities. Status and use of Ancient Woodland Inventories. Biodiversity Action Plans, UK and EU law. Forestry grant schemes.

Session 14    

Non-woodland trees: The veteran trees of Herefordshire. Surveys, methods and results. Requirements of long lived trees, ecology, threats, management and tree surgery. Links to historic landscape and wood pasture restoration.

Three outings in spring and summer

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Course Booklist and web links

Ancient Woodlands and Trees of Herefordshire. A summary of the recent woodland project findings including current status of the ancient woodland inventory update (as of March 2010). Free to download:

Ancient Woodlands and Trees of Herefordshire  PDF 7Mb

Woodlands, by Oliver Rackham, Collins 2006. (No. 100 in the New Naturalist series)

Essential. By the leading authority on British woodlands. If you buy just one book, get this.

Ancient Woodland: Its History, Vegetation and Uses in England by Oliver Rackham Publisher: Castlepoint Press 2003.

The fruits of Oliver Rackham’s research in glorious detail.

Wye Valley, by George F. Peterken, Collins 2008

Useful chapter on woodlands even though only a third of the AONB is in Herefordshire.

Woodlands of the Lower Wye

available from the Wye Valley AONB www.wyevalleyaonb.org.uk

Landscape Origins of the Wye Valley: Holme Lacy to Bridstow, editor/author Heather Hurley Logaston Press (2008).

A detailed study of part of the Wye valley with results of new research on the history of woodlands, parks and the landscape generally.

Grazing Ecology and Forest History by Franz Vera, CABI 2000.

A challenge to the notion of prehistoric forest by showing that it was probably ‘wood pasture’. The ‘Vera hypothesis’ has important implications for conservation today.

Welsh Woods and Forests: A History, by William Linnard, Gomer Press 2000

Linnard can be considered as Wales’s answer to Oliver Rackham, much of the research is applicable to west Herefordshire parts of which were in Wales of course.

The Medieval Park: New Perspectives editor Robert Liddiard, Windgather Press 2007.

Relevant recent work by a number of experts.

The Wild Flower Key: How to identify wild plants, trees and shrubs in Britain and Ireland by Francis Rose and Clare O'Reilly. Warne, Revised edition 2006.

The best wild flower field identification book.

Collins Tree Guide, by Owen Johnson, Collins 2006.

Know Your Conifers. by the Forestry Commission, Stationery Office Books 1970.

Out of print but can be had from Amazon.

Know your broadleaves. by the Forestry Commission, Stationery Office Books 1975.

Out of print but can be had from Amazon.

Woodland Management: A Practical Guideby Christopher Starr, The Crowood Press Ltd; illustrated edition edition 2005.

A Critique of Silviculture: Managing for Complexity, by Klaus J. Puettmann, K. David Coates and Christian Messier, Island Press 2009.

Just published and haven’t read it myself but looks interesting.

Woodland Rides and Glades: Their Management for Wildlife, by M.S. Warren and R.J. Fuller, Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC); 2nd Revised edition 1993.

The conservation and restoration of plantations on ancient woodland sites, by Woodland Trust, available online at the Woodland Trust also (see ‘links’).

Restoration of native woodland on ancient woodland sites, by Thompson, Humphrey, Harmer and Ferris. Forestry Commission Practice Note 14. 2003. [click] Obtainable from FC's excellent resarch branch, (see the web links below)

Veteran Trees: A Guide to Good Management, English Nature 2000.

This and other booklets on veteran trees are available on line from the Woodland Trust (see web links below).

Pocket Guide to the Butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland by Richard Lewington British Wildlife Publishing 2003.

Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland by Paul Waring, Martin Townsend, and Richard Lewington, British Wildlife Publishing; 2nd edition 2009

Web Links

Recent work on many aspects of practical woodland ecology and management including climate change implications see the Forest Research web page of the Forestry Commission: Forest research and click on "woodland biodiversity" and/or "Sustainable forest management".

Natural England Natural England

Forestry Commission Forestry Commission

Map of rural designations including ancient woodlands MAGIC website

Mike and Tamsin Abbotts Living Wood site Abbotts Living Wood

and their useful list of links Abbotts Living Wood links

Useful booklet on veteran trees and woodpasture from Wrexham Council  Veteran Trees and Woodpasture

Ancient Tree Hunt, a major project to record all ancent trees in Britain by the Woodland Trust  Ancient tree hunt

Comprehesive information on old trees assembed by the Woodland Trust, click on 'resources' and 'bibliography' Woodland Trust resources

Woodland Trust guides Ancient tree hunt guides

Wealden Ancient Tree Project Wealden Ancient Tree Project [7Mbytes]

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