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Wilder Woods

Central Somerset Outdoor Learning Partnership

Community Conservation

A programme of  woodland  conservation has been ongoing, funded by CSOLP, and guided by an initial survey and management plan drawn up in 2007.

Adults  and youth volunteers  from the local community carry out woodland management tasks led by experienced leaders.

 

  • Bird boxes have been installed
  • young native trees planted, many donated by the Woodland Trust (crab apple, hornbeam, hazel, bird cherry, birch, rowan, small leave lime, alder)
  • Yew, western red cedar and holly have been planted to provide evergreen cover.
  • Bluebells, snowdrops & woodruff planted have added to the existing flowers of including violets, primroses wild daffodils and wild arum.
  • Overrun hazel stools have been coppiced and show vigorous regeneration.
  • Fallen trees are left in situ to provide habitat and food for insects and encouraging bird populations.
  • Fallen hornbeam provides safe but challenging climbing areas for children.
  • Standing dead wood is left, providing habitat for green woodpeckers, greater spotted woodpeckers and owls.

There is an active population of squirrels and rabbits in the wood, deer, fox and pheasants have been seen visiting.

A minimum of safety work is carried out annually, ensuring the safety of those taking part in activities and providing a balance between recreational activities and wildlife needs.

Piles of brash created from clearing are used to create habitat piles. This is augmented by brash provided by the local community. Wood chip provided by a local tree surgeon is used to keep the pathways clear and relatively free of mud in winter.

The ground becomes very wet in winter and activities are limited in the wood during the first quarter of the year.

More information about the wood

The wood contains a broad selection of native flora and fauna as well as some invasive non-natives. There is evidence of Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) coppicing at the site in the past and this may explain the purpose of it’s planting. Hornbeam is a durable hardwood much prized for the making of drays or carts.

Elm is also very common, and although the mature Elms still die off due to the Dutch Elm Beetle, there is a  constant regrowth of young trees within the wood.

Also present are a small number of hazel stools, field maple, ash, sycamore and oak. There are 2 Wych Elm Trees and 2 Beech trees. There is also an interesting stand of ‘Butchers Broom’.

The wood is under private ownership and CSOLP currently holds a 10 year lease from the owner to use the wood for nature education activities. Prior to the Lease agreement the wood had become neglected and was overrun with ivy, brambles and rabbits.

We are following a Management plan to restore the woodland to good health and have planted new trees in clearings created by storm felled trees. We have planted a number of wild fruit trees to encourage birds. Bird boxes have been installed and we have started coppicing some of the hazel. We have planted hedging trees to thicken up and mark the boundaries of the wood.  All our work has been accompanied by the raucous laugh of the Greater Spotted Wood pecker.