Woodlands are also useful – they take CO2 from the atmosphere and help mop up pollutants from the air while at the same time providing us with timber and wood; renewable resources with lots of uses from fuel to furniture.
Best of all they are great for wildlife supporting a huge diversity of plants, animals and fungi. They are also beautiful places to explore in all seasons. Look out for broadleaved woods composed of deciduous trees, mixed woods (with both broadleaves and conifers) and conifer woods which may often be plantations of non-native timber trees, though in Scotland there are large areas of native Scots Pine forest which support lots of wildlife.
After the last ice age as temperatures warmed trees started to colonise and grow across the UK. By about 8,000 years ago much of Britain would have been forested with a great wildwood inhabited by wolves, bears, beavers and wild boar. Today less than 10% of our land is forested.
In woodland, make sure you look around carefully. You could spot so many birds, just hiding in plain sight! Birds that make this habitat their home include tawny owl, sparrowhawk, great spotted woodpecker, treecreeper, nuthatch, jay, great tit, blue tit, chiffchaff, blackcap, garden warbler, nightingale (rare).
From mighty deer, to tiny mice, a whole range of mammals make the woodland their home. Keep your eyes out for roe deer, red deer, badger, fox, grey squirrel, wood mouse, and dormouse (rare).
Make sure you tell us what you manage to find!
Plants and Trees
Woods are awash with colour and light! How many of these can you spot: Bluebell, wood sorrel, early purple orchid, wood anemone, dog’s mercury, primrose, wild garlic and red campion. Trees: oak, ash, beech, field maple, hornbeam, birch and Scot’s Pine.
Have you taken your magnifying glass to a woodland? You could find many species of snails, woodlice, beetles (including the amazing rhinoceros beetle and stag beetle) and butterflies (including speckled wood, white admiral and purple hairstreak.)