Choosing a woodland for Wildlife


Choosing a woodland that suits ones needs isn’t easy, we must have seen about 18 throughout Cornwall and Devon to launch our own Woodland Wildlife Project. We chose a native stretch of woodland situated in the heart of Cornwall that was also categorized as ancient and had all the obvious signs of it to.

woodland protection signsFor us we didn’t want rights of way due to protecting the wildlife habitat, but we do have the added benefit of some previously well laid out tracks. One of our first jobs in the wood was to place up our bespoke signs to ensure the habitat is protected. Merely highlighting the priorities of the woodland under our ownership, without saying “Private, Get orf my land!” It really wasn’t what we wanted to say.

Our ancient woodland is made up of coppiced oak but are still very old trees indeed, which is evident from the stools. Among the Oak we have an abundance of Holy and Hazel at the top. We are very luck to have found about 7 Aspen, rare to this part of Cornwall and native. At the far end we have Sycamore which needs management, this has already started with many of the younger trees being taken out with a hand saw.

There is also ample deadwood, both standing and on the ground to keep our invertebrates happy.

Although for us it wasn’t a deal breaker to find a wood with a river,  wildlife would be less transient and live in the woods if it did.  We have a stream and marsh area which we are looking to improve for wildlife and excited by all the information we have picked up along the way. We are continuously researching invertebrates and amphibians and looking forward to Spring to discover more on the activity in the area.

There is work to be done to achieve more light to penetrate the woodlands various levels. This will help enhance the ground flora and fauna and help produce the native shrub level we are looking to achieve. With our expertise we are able to thin some of the woodland to benefit the health and vitality of the other trees, for their growth and wider spread. This will enhance the enjoyment for future generations to experience the veteran trees they will become.

resident vixenMy second exciting task was to install trail cameras to survey the wildlife and we are delighted with what we find each time we pick up the footage. Roe, badgers, foxes, stoats, jays, small un-identified “objects” mammals!….and it continues. Even down to the fascinating little invertebrates devouring the maize laden badger poo.

Here is our first compilation video of our trail camera footage. We are keeping our NEWS section up to date with progress reports, the resident wildlife videos and fungi finds.

About the author: Angie Cruse

As well as working hard on the ground here in the UK, Angie has spent ample time volunteering in conservation abroad and continually studies habitat management in conservation.