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The WoodlandsFuelling a Revolution
PLANTS OF THE HERITAGE WOODLANDS
Multi-stemmed Oak
Many trees in the Heritage Woodlands, such as this Oak in Prior Royd, are multi-stemmed suggesting that they were once coppiced.

The 35 Heritage Woodlands are ancient woodlands and as a result of their long history, a range of wildlife is found that is only present in old woods. As a general rule, the areas currently richest in flowering plants are those undisturbed by planting of non-native trees, particularly where these are along streams, or close to woodland edges where more light can reach the woodland floor.

Trees and shrubs found in the woodlands include a number that are typical of ancient woodlands such as Sessile Oak, Holly, Crab Apple, Wild Cherry and Field Maple. The first of these is very frequent and widespread, occurring in all 35 of the Heritage Woodlands.

Wood Anemone
Wood anemone, an indicator of ancient woodland, is found in many parts of the Heritage Woodlands.
The Heritage Woodlands are also rich in flowering plants. Again, a number of these are rarely found outside ancient woodlands. Bluebell and the white flowers of the Wood Anemone make a fine display in many of the woodlands in the early spring. The latter is particularly strongly associated with ancient woodland, being only rarely found outside of this, as are Sweet Woodruff, Wood Sorrel, Yellow Archangel and Yellow Pimpernel. Other flowers typical of ancient woodlands include Dog's Mercury, Slender St John's-wort, Greater Stitchwort, Pignut, Ramsons, Wood Speedwell and Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage, the last of these being particularly associated with streamsides. The ancient woodland indicator, Common Cow-wheat is frequent in Wheata Wood.

As well as these woodland flowers, the grasses Wood Millet and Wood Melick are very strongly associated with ancient woodlands, as are Remote Sedge, Great Woodrush and Hairy Woodrush.

In addition to their different woodland types, many of the Heritage Woodlands contain a variety of other habitats, each of which supports its own range of plant species. Open grassland or heathland areas, either within or on the edge of the woodlands, tend to support plants favouring acid soils, such as Heath Bedstraw, Heather, Bilberry and Field Woodrush. The presence of wet areas greatly increases the variety of plants found. Typical plants found in wet places within the Heritage Woodlands include Angelica, Brooklime, Ladies Smock, Valerian, Water Mint, Watercress, Water Forget-me-not, Common Spotted Orchid and Meadowsweet.

Fungi on Birch
The fungus Birch Polypore in Woolley Wood.
As well as flowering plants, the Heritage Woodlands support a range of other plants such as mosses, liverworts, lichens, fungi and ferns. In autumn, fungi are particularly common in some of the woodlands. For example, Canklow Wood has an exceedingly rich fungus flora with over 130 species of larger fungi having been recorded within the last 20 years, many of which are rare or uncommon in the area. Fungi recorded in the Heritage Woodlands include Shaggy Ink-cap, Common Earth-ball, Giant Polypore, Jew's Ear, Sulphur Tuft, Oyster Mushroom, Wood Blewit, Stump Puffball, Stinkhorn and the characteristic red and white spotted Fly Agaric.
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