Discover the woodland

Look closely and you can see minute detail in these leaves © Simon Fraser

Look closely and you can see minute detail in these leaves

Originally the Edge was part of an extensive Oak Forest that once covered Cheshire and much of the British Isles.

Over hundreds of years timber has been felled for use in buildings, mining and smelters, gradually turning the area into open heathland.

After the deliberate planting of Scots Pine and Beech by the Stanley family (local landowners from the 15th Century until 1938) in the 18th Century, the Edge has again become predominantly woodland.

The original planting has been augmented by natural regeneration of other tree species including oak, birch, rowan and holly.

Woodland comprises around two thirds of the total area of the Edge, with beech making up 25 – 30% of the woodland cover.   Scots Pine dominates the skyline of the edge resulting in the distinctive tree lined escarpment.

The woodland is managed for landscape and amenity and includes selective felling of some trees to encourage existing species to develop their crowns, encourage natural regeneration of the woodland floor (by increasing light levels) and to broaden the age range of the trees. 

If required, appropriate tree species are planted and invasive species like rhododendron are removed to ensure the character of Alderley Edge’s woodland is sustained.

When trees are allowed to rot naturally they become a new habitat for the plant and animal community and are thus an important woodland component here at Alderley Edge. Dead wood is retained in situ wherever it is safe to do so.