The many wildflowers that are visible here in the Spring, along with evidence of old banks and boundaries, suggest that there has been woodland here since at least 1600, classifying it as ‘ancient’ woodland. Many specialised plants and insects that are naturally slow to colonise new areas are found only in ancient woods, adding to the conservation value of the site.
Evidence of past human activity here is also preserved in the coppiced stands of hazel that run through the woodland. Coppicing makes use of the characteristic of some trees – hazel, oak, ash, alder, lime, beech and sweet chestnut – in throwing out vigorous new shoots after they have been cut back to ground level.
The trees in coppiced woods have a distinctive multi-stemmed form, still evident even a hundred years after coppicing stops. Coppicing often has many benefits to wildlife, and is still practiced as a modern conservation technique. Other clues to the history and past management of woods might be found in soil profile, the variety of tree species and the age and shape of individual trees.