Lowland Mixed Deciduous Woodland

Habitat Description

Native woodland of ash, maple and hazel is the commonest type found in the county, chiefly on ridge and plateaux tops where extensive deposits of calcareous boulder clay have historically limited the expansion of agriculture. Calcicolous shrubs and plants such as dogwood, privet, spindle, wayfaring tree, guelder rose, dog's mercury and enchanter's nightshade are distinctive components of the these woodlands, together with bluebell and bramble. In such woods oak is often an artefact of planting, most of which was carried out in an attempt to convert coppice to High Forest. Conversion to conifer plantation, carried out slightly later, has also destroyed many native woods of this type.

Native oakwoods of the county are commonly associated with base poor soils, which occur in patches and over sandstone soils to the west. This type of wood lacks the base rich indicators found in boulder clay woods, and these freer draining soils are typically dominated by pendunculate oak, birch, hazel, bracken, bramble and yorkshire fog, with prominent displays of spring vernals such as greater stitchwort and bluebell. Smalled-leaved lime can also be locally prominent, as in the ash-maple-hazel woods.

Many subsidiary woodland habitats such as ponds, grass rides and open space are key biodiversity features and management should be tailored towards maintaining or enhancing these as part of the overall woodland environment. NVC communities present are:

   

W8 Fraxinus excelsior Acer campestre Mercurialis perennis (ash field maple dog's mercury) woodland.

W10 Quercus robur Pteridium aquilinum Rubus fruticosus (oak - bracken - bramble) woodland.

W7 Alnus glutinosa Fraxinus excelsior Lysimachia nemorum (alder ash yellow pimpernel) wodland.

Woodland is not evenly distributed across the county but historically concentrated in three core forest areas within four Districts. To the north of the County is the Rockingham Forest stretching across the Districts of East Northamptonshire, Corby and Kettering. And to the south lies the forests of Salcey, Yardley Chase and Whittlewood, all within the District of South Northants.

Current UK Status and Trends

The area of woodland in the UK is estimated at 2.8 million hectares of which 1.1 million (40%) is in England. Since 1900 the overall area of forest cover has steadily increased from a low of 5% to 11.7%, although the UK still remains one of the least wooded countries in Europe.

Estimated Current Northants Resource

5.2% of Northamptonshire is woodland, of which 3% is broadleaved and 2.2% coniferous, mixed, scrub or newly planted.

Progress Towards BAP Targets 2002-2007

Unknown

Lead Partner

Forestry Commission

Main Issues and Threats

  • Loss of traditional management practises, such as coppicing.
  • Historic afforestation of native woodland with non-native species.
  • Decline or loss of management of subsidiary habitats, such as rides and open space.

General Strategy

  • Reinstate sustainable management practices to neglected woodlands.
  • Discourage the planting of non-native species.
  • Restore coniferous/non-native plantations to semi-natural broadleaved woodland.
  • Highlight the importance of subsidiary habitats such as rides and glades and encourage management for these habitats.
  • Created new native woodland in locations where it will enhance existing native woodland, particularly ancient woods, and other priority habitats.

Associated National Priority Species

  • Adder
  • Argent and sable
  • August thorn (moth)
  • Barbastelle bat
  • Barred tooth-striped (moth)
  • Beaded chestnut (moth)
  • Brindled beauty (moth)
  • Brown hare
  • Brown long-eared bat
  • Brown-spot pinion (moth)
  • Centre-barred sallow (moth)
  • Common bullfinch
  • Common fan-foot (moth)
  • Common grasshopper warbler
  • Cuckoo
  • Dormouse
  • Double dart (moth)
  • Dusky lemon-sallow (moth)
  • Dusky thorn (moth)
  • False mocha (moth)
  • Feathered gothic (moth)
  • Figure of eight (moth)
  • Flounced chestnut (moth)
  • Fly orchid
  • Goat moth
  • Green-brindled crescent (moth)
  • Grey dagger (moth)
  • Hawfinch
  • Heart moth
  • Hedge accentor
  • Lesser spotted woodpecker
  • Linnet
  • Marsh tit
  • Mouse moth
  • Neglected rustic (moth)
  • Knot grass (moth)
  • Noctule
  • Oak hook-tip (moth)
  • Oak lutestring
  • Pale eggar (moth)
  • Pretty chalk carpet (moth)
  • Polecat
  • September thorn (moth)
  • Small emerald (moth)
  • Song thrush
  • Spotted flycatcher
  • The concolorous (moth)
  • The lackey (moth)
  • The sprawler (moth)
  • The streak (moth)
  • Tree pipit
  • White admiral
  • White helleborine
  • White letter hairstreak
  • White-spotted pinion (moth)
  • Willow tit
  • Wood warbler
  • Wood white
  • Yellow bird's-nest

Specific Management Required for Associated Species

Species

Northamptonshire Status

Management Prescriptions

Key Sites

Adder

Unknown

Maintain sunny areas in woodland habitats.

Kingscliffe Disused Railway Line, Fineshade Wood.

Barbastelle bat

Unknown

Retention of mature and hollow trees, prevent fragmentation of ancient woodland, protect roosts in buildings.

Roost in building in Croughton.

Dormouse

Very rare

Requires actively managed hazel coppice.

Westhay Wood, Hazelborough

Fly orchid

Rare

Preserve open woodland on calcareous soil and prevent scrub encroachment.

Wakerley Woods, Collyweston, Easton Hornstocks.

Tree pipit

Rare but breeding

Clearings needed within woodlands.

Fineshade Wood

White admiral

Local

Suitable ride management.

Salcey Forest

White helleborine

Very rare

Woodlands on calcareous soil.

Woodford Shrubbery, Ashton Wold

White-letter hairstreak

Frequent

Woods and wood edges with elm.

 

Willow tit

Breeding

Maintain standing deadwood, particularly rotting stumps of willow, birch, and alder. Scrub required nearby.

 

Wood white

Restricted

Recently opened clearings such as rides and glades. Food plants are vetches and bird's-foot-trefoils.

Salcey Forest, Hazelborough

Yellow bird's-nest

Rare

Beech and pine woods.

Apethorpe Woods, Wakerley Woods

Targets

Target Code

Target Type

Target Description

Target Units

Northants Baseline Resource

Target

By

Unit Cost £

Total Cost £

NOR_LMW_T1

Maintain Extent

Maintain the current extent of at least LWS-standard native secondary woodland.

Hectares

7200

No Loss

2015

75/ha/yr

540,000/yr

NOR_LMW_T2

Maintain Extent

Maintain the current extent of at least LWS-standard ancient semi-natural woodland.

Hectares

4000

No Loss

2015

75/ha/yr

300,000/yr

NOR_LMW_T3

Achieving Condition

Achieve LWS condition of 635 ha of native broadleaved woodland by 2015 (1% per year).

Hectares

8800

9435

2015

75/ha/yr

47,625/yr (if mgmt from yr 1)

NOR_LMW_T4

Restoration

Restore 120 ha of non-native plantations on ancient semi-natural woodland sites to native woodland by 2015.

Hectares

0

120

2015

300/ha + 75/ha/yr

36,000 initial + 9,000/yr

NOR_LMW_T5

Expansion

Increase the extent of Native Woodland by 240 ha by 2015 through a combination of converting (restocking) existing plantations and creating native woodland on ex-agricultural land.

Hectares

0

240

2015

3,375/ha + 900/ha/yr for 3 years then 200/ha/yr for 7 yrs

810,000 initial + 984,000 over 10 yrs.


Actions

Action Code

Action Description

Lead Partner

Support Partner(s)

Related Target

NOR_LMW_CA_A1

Initiate active management on woodland LWS including the creation and maintenance of associated features such as glades and rides.

Northamptonshire Biodiversity Partnership

The Forestry Commission

NOR_LMW_T1

NOR_LMW_CA_A2

Prevent the loss of ancient woodland to development or other land uses.

Local Authorities

Woodland Trust

NOR_LMW_T2

NOR_LMW_HS_A3

Retain existing veteran trees and identify and protect veteran trees of the future.

Woodland Trust

The Forestry Commission

NOR_LMW_T2

NOR_LMW_SU_A4

Identify and survey woodland identified as Potential Wildlife Sites and provide management advice to landowners.

Northamptonshire Biodiversity Partnership

The Wildlife Trust

NOR_LMW_T3

NOR_LMW_CA_A5

Promote the use of sustainable management practices such as coppicing by actively targeting woodland owners in Northamptonshire and providing training and advice.

The Forestry Commission

Royal Forestry Society

NOR_LMW_T3

NOR_LMW_CA_A6

Promote the use of woodfuel from native woodland as a sustainable source of heat and power generation and provide advice and support to landowners to establish supply chains that facilitate sustainable woodland management (in line with "A Woodfuel Strategy for England", Forestry Commission, 2007).

The Forestry Commission

Woodland Trust

NOR_LMW_T1& T2 & T3

NOR_LMW_CA_A7

Identify the location of plantations on privately owned ancient woodland sites and provide advice to landowners about grant schemes available for conversion to semi-natural woodland.

The Forestry Commission

The Wildlife Trust, Woodland Trust

NOR_LMW_T4

NOR_LMW_HC_A8

Restore non-native plantations on ancient woodland sites on Forestry Commission owned or managed land. Target areas where there is potential connectivity to ancient and semi-natural woodlands.

The Forestry Commission

Woodland Trust

NOR_MNW_T4

NOR_LMW_HC_A9

Identify target areas where woodland connectivity can be enhanced and ancient woodlands buffered, and promote the creation of 240 ha of native woodland on these sites through grant-funded natural regeneration or planting of native species.

The Forestry Commission

The Wildlife Trust, Woodland Trust

NOR_LMW_T5