The Ancient Woodland Resource of Worcestershire

By J.J.Day

There is some concern amongst conservation organisations that the county Ancient Woodland Inventories, produced by Nature Conservancy Council/English Nature, fail to identify the total resource. To be included in the inventory sites had to be at least 2ha in area. Worcestershire was forest country well into the Anglo-Saxon period. The pattern of woodland clearance has resulted in many small ancient semi-natural woods.

It is the small sites which contribute so much to the biodiversity of Worcestershire. In order to retain extensive and viable woodland populations of wildlife maintenance of the countywide matrix is vital. For example, most of the woodlands in the Laugherne basin are ancient semi-natural. Most are not in the Ancient Woodland Inventory. Virtually all support wild service tree Sorbus torminalis. The density of wild service tree is probably as high as anywhere in northwest Europe.

In 1983 I produced an Ancient Woodland Catalogue for use by the then Worcestershire Nature Conservation Trust. The method was the same as the Nature Conservancy Council's approach but differed in that it included all woodland regardless of size.

The statistics for ancient woodland sites are of interest:

Survey by Number of sites Total Area ha
N.C.C. 486 6222
W.N.C.T. 1135 7292
Discrepancy 649 1070

Well over half, 57%, of Worcestershire's ancient woodland sites have no conservation designation. A total of 15% by area is unprotected.


DAY J.J. 1983 Ancient Woodland Catalogue WNCT (unpublished)
WHITBREAD A. 1986 Worcestershire Inventory of Ancient Woodlands. Nature Conservancy Council.
WBRC Home Worcs Record Listing by Issue Worcs Record Listing by Subject