Enhancing woodland at Abbot Street Copse
The woodland at Abbot Street Copse is famous for its beautiful bluebells in the spring. We've worked hard to extend and develop this part of the Kingston Lacy estate.
Throughout the winter of 2019 we created a new plantation next to the existing copse. In total we have planted and guarded 2,500 trees and 1,500 hedgerow trees. Our aim is to conserve and improve the biodiversity of this environment, as well as manage the woodland to provide locally, sustainably sourced timber in the future.
Abbot Street Copse is one of the most popular places to see bluebells on the Kingston Lacy estate, where they appear in late spring. The iconic plants can be damaged by the number of visitors so, importantly, the plantation provides a new bluebell route that takes in the top path in the existing woodland.This will help lessen damage whilst still giving visitors the chance to enjoy the bluebells.
But it is also an important Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland (ASNW): a wood that has been in existence for more than 400 years. Only 2 per cent of British woodlands are ASNW and often consist of the most diverse woodland habitats. With woodland cover in the UK at only 13 per cent, compared to 35 per cent in European Union countries, it's important to conserve existing woods.
The new plantation consists primarily of oak, with sweet chestnut, hazel, wild cherry and scattered Scots pine. Our vision is to create an oak-dominated canopy, with patches of sweet chestnut and hazel understorey, that will mirror the existing woodland habitat. Wild cherry and Scots pine will add diversity, and their fast growth will encourage other trees to grow through natural competition.
Networks of gravel and grass rides add a mixture of habitats and areas for people and families to walk and explore. This includes natural seats, wild flower habitats and new adjoining hedgerow corridors.
" Ancient semi-natural woodland (ASNW) in the UK such as Abbot Street Copse have halved since the 1930s. Extending and preserving this habitat is therefore extremely important and the work we have completed will improve and protect this area of woodland for years to come."