Ecology

Information about the diversity and ecology of the wood

Flora and Fauna

Common Wood contains more than 330 species of flora and fauna, their diversity governed by the acidity or lime content of the soil in the zones in which they are found. Though it is largely beechwood, there are strands of mature oak, an aspen grove, an avenue of Douglas Firs, and Scots pine. Certain areas are more akin to open heath, with gorse and bracken, while others contain large tracts if cherry, laurel and holly; yet others are colonised by larch or silver birch. Bramblings and siskins may be detected in winter, feeding with resident finches among the conifers; in spring, the drumming of the great spotted woodpecker, calling nuthatches or the song of the robin may be heard; in summer, migrant willow-warbler, chiffchaff and blackcap sing from the surrounding scrub. In spring, carpets of bluebells fill the air with fragrance, while Fungi such as Fly Agaric are some of the delights of the woodland floor in autumn. Other flora is more modest: heath bedstraw being an example. Numerous species of butterfly and moth have been recorded in Common Wood, such as the Brimstone and Red Admiral butterfly, and the impressive Elephant hawk-moth. Animals include foxes, badgers, grey squirrels and muntjac.

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Ecology of the wood

  • Farther Barn Field is being grazed to maintain a central meadow, while woodland strips have been planted along the edges to maintain a continuous wooded canopy between Common Wood and the Gravelly Way Plantation.
  • Gravelly Way Plantation is a Larch plantation which is gradually being thinned to allow natural regeneration of broadleaf trees, initially predominantly Birch and Beech.
  • Elephant Tree – two beech trees have grown together to form an interesting shape that gives the appearance of an elephant trunk.