Wapley Bushes Conservation Group title

The Woodlands

There is evidence of the woodland being ancient, which means that the land has been wooded for at least 400 years. This is indicated by a number of flower species which are often found growing in woodland of this age. Among these are bluebells, dog's mercury, wood anemone and yellow archangel.

The woodland was left unmanaged for quite a long time, so the woodland canopy is made of fairly even-aged ash trees. The instability of this was seen during the storms of 1990 when areas in the middle of the wood were blown flat.

To encourage a diverse structure, and age range of trees, different species have been planted in the gaps left by storms. This also increases the variety of habitat for animals and plants. Ash, oak, field maple and a single crab apple are also found in the wood. The tall trees make a good nesting site for rooks, which can usually be seen or heard.

To diversify the woodland habitat still further, an open area called a ride has been created along the south-east edge of the wood between Wapley Bushes and the Western Wood. Butterflies and other insects are attracted to these warm, sheltered areas.

To the north an area of new woodland has been created along the existing woodland edge. This planting was undertaken as a community planting scheme on Mothers Day 1994, and it is now known as the Centenary Wood.

The scrub layer consists of dense thickets of privet, blackthorn and bramble. It is managed by cutting to prevent the wild flowers from being swamped and out-shaded and to allow the planted trees to grow in the gappy areas. Other areas of scrub are allowed to grow to provide cover for wildlife and nesting birds.