Native Woodland Restoration in Herefordshire 2006 - 2009
The project has made a detailed study of the history and ecology of Herefordshire’s woodlands contributing to our understanding of their origin, management, economy, uses and natural history. A Geographic Information System (GIS) was used to analyse digitally scanned historic maps to compare them with modern maps and aerial photography.
A summary of the recent woodland project findings including current status of the ancient woodland inventory update (as of March 2010) Ancient Woodlands and Trees of Herefordshire PDF 7 Mb
Ancient Woodland Inventory Revision
The large scale early 19th century parish tithe maps have been digitised and fitted to the modern grid to help revise the Herefordshire Ancient Woodland Inventory. This allows us to include many smaller woods under 2 hectares excluded from the original inventory. Just over half the the parish tithe maps have been processed in this way. Woodland boundaries have been digitised with reference to woodland on the tithe map for 40% of the county.
See map sequence example here takes a little time to load
1953 Forestry Commission census survey notes
The unpublished 1953 Forestry Commission census of Herefordshire, declassified in the late 1990s, has been digitised in its entirety and analysed for the first time. The census survey forms give a detailed picture of the status, structure and species composition of Herefordshire's woodland resource just before most private sector conversions to plantation forestry were carried out. For individual woods these are a valuable historical record and useful for planning the restoration of plantations on ancient woodland sites (PAWS).
Restoring damaged woodland
Project funds have helped restore 22 hectares of plantations on ancient woodland sites (PAWS) for restocking with native broadleaves in the Woolhope Dome Biodiversity Enhancement Area. Active management of the county’s woods has been the norm for centuries, providing a wide variety of products to many industries. Management to produce a patchwork of different woodland age classes with restocking with native species is optimum structure for most native woodland wildlife.
The project has studied the ecology of woods where data was poor or non-existent. Surveys of vegetation, moths, butterflies and beetles were carried out on in 49 woods which covering some 600 hectares. This included moth light-trapping in 15 woods where recorded 825 species were including 56 which are nationally rare.
Medieval and Tudor records show that some Herefordshire’s woodland was formerly wood pasture or parkland. The project is providing information to help plan the restoration of some woodland areas to wood pasture now a rare habitat.
Parts of the county where there are concentrations of old trees have been surveyed by volunteers using GPS and digital cameras. Some of these in a pastoral setting can be considered as small scale ‘wood pasture’ or potential ‘wood pasture’ sites. The project has recorded over a thousand such veteran trees. See veteran tree page here
Queens Wood, Dymock
The project commissioned Jeff Rush to carry out a series of light trap moth surveys 2006 to 2008 in the Herefordshire block of the Forestry Commission's Queens Wood, Dymock (parish of Upton Bishop). This is a part broadleaves, part conifer plantation ancient woodland on the Herefordshire/Gloucestershire border. These surveys produced 745 moth species which include 3 UKBAP species (Drab Looper, Barred Tooth Stripe, False Mocha), 12 nationally notable, 36 provisional UKBAP and 72 locally rare moth species. Recent restoration work by the Forestry Commission and, over a thirty year period, by Dr. Harper and the Ladbury Naturalists have put Queens Wood on the road to an attempted complete restoration. The project has put this wood forward as an 'exemplar woodland' and showing that spectecular results can be produced from small beginnings.
See Queens Wood briefing paper (1.8Mb)
Contact the project officer David Lovelace firstname.lastname@example.org The project is supported by: