Much of Britain used to be covered by woodland, and thousands of species are adapted to live in this habitat. However few native woods survive today, and the area of this habitat is decreasing.
Natural woods have a distinct layered structure:
- the canopy with taller trees such as beech and lime
- small trees and shrubs, for instance hazel and holly
- herbs, such as bluebells and violets
- the ground with mosses and fungi.
Light reaches the woodland floor in winter and spring, allowing many plants to flourish. In autumn the fallen leaves rot to form a rich humus layer.
Make the most of your garden
- In very small gardens plant ferns and foxgloves in a shady spot.
- Remove a few shrubs that are close together, improve the soil beneath and plant shade-loving plants.
- Plant some snowdrops or winter aconites beneath an existing tree.
- If planting a new woodland area choose native trees (of a suitable size) – they support more wildlife eg oak and silver birch.
- Create shrubby borders around the lawn to simulate a woodland clearing – you may attract badgers and foxes.
Woodlands are Britain's richest and most diverse habitats. Much woodland wildlife is adapted to the 'edge' or 'glade', so a small woodland in your garden could benefit hundreds of species.