Restoring Wall Wood

Bluebells in Blake's Wood

Wall Wood is ancient coppice woodland - important for its wild flowers such as the violet helleborine, bluebell and the nationally scarce oxlip.

Woodland wildlife has declined dramatically over the past 30 years, largely due to increasing fallow and muntjac deer pressure resulting in habitat loss. Here it relies on the light provided by cyclical cutting of coppice, which is where multi-stemmed trees (‘stools’) are cut to ground level ideally every 20 years or so. 

Coppicing has been carried out in Wall Wood for well over a thousand years as a way of harvesting firewood, poles for building materials and the wildlife has evolved with it. It invigorates the wood by providing trees and thicket of different ages. As a result, it attracts the largest possible variety of wildlife, providing a great home for rare species such as dormice and nesting birds, including nightingale. 

Young trees and shoots must be protected from deer. In medieval times this would have been with a dead hedge around the top of the woodbank and ditch created for the purpose. Since the 1800s, fencing has been used which is far more effective. Deadwood is still retained though as wildlife refuge.

With help from Natural England and the Forestry Commission, we have decided to halt this wildlife decline by re-commencing coppicing and protecting the young growth from deer again after a 50 year gap. 

Please help this to happen by making sure that the gates are kept closed. Due to better food supply near ground level since re-coppicing last winter, deer will want to take up residence in the wood and some have unfortunately been allowed in through gates being propped open and vandalised.

To report vandalism please call the estate office on (01279) 870678. 
We hope that you enjoy your visit to the wood and seeing the restoration progress over the years to come.