The wildlife of Walk Wood
Walk Wood has a mosaic of different habitats: conifer woods, broadleaf woods, coppice hornbeam, open rides and glades all of which are vital for wildlife.
Many ancient woodlands were felled to create commercial conifer woods and whilst they don’t have the same ecological significance that ancient woodlands have, they do have a positive affect for wildlife. Conifer woods are home to many different invertebrates and some amazing fungi, and in Walk Wood we’ve been lucky enough to have seen Crossbills feeding.
Through careful woodland management Walk Wood is slowly being restored and the positive impacts can been seen throughout. By thinning out the conifers and allowing more light to the ground layer a carpet of bluebells can now been seen through a hornbeam coppice. Wood anemones carpet the ground with their beautiful white flowers, while the scent from the wild garlic fills the air.
But it is not just plants that can be found in Walk Wood. The rides and paths that have been created in the woods are the perfect habitat to see many species of insects such as bees, hoverflies and butterflies, including the speckled wood, silver washed fritillary and the white admiral.
Lots of birds are also making Walk Wood their home, from buzzards that drift overhead to owls that fly low through the woods to catch their prey. Greater spotted woodpeckers can be heard drumming their way into trees in search of food, and Chiffchaffs, Treecreepers and Goldcrests can be seen and heard across the woods.
One of the most overlooked habitats within woods is the fallen and standing dead wood. A fifth of woodland invertebrates such as beetles, worms and woodlice rely on this decay. The holes and cracks within decaying wood is home to many species of bats, the brown long eared bat being one. They are able to use their amazing hearing to listen out and detect a beetle walking across a leaf.
Walk Wood is rich with wildlife and this is evident from the moment you walk in and see the bluebells lining the woodland floor and all the birds singing away. We are closely monitoring the wildlife of Walk Wood by carrying out a variety of different surveys, not only will this tell us how the wildlife is fairing and what species are found there, but also help with future management, to ensure this special place is looked after for years to come.