What is ancient woodland?
Ancient woodland is defined as land that has been continually wooded since at least 1600AD. From 1600AD, planting of woodland became more common, so woodland that pre-dates this is more likely to have grown up naturally. Some ancient woods may even link back to the original wildwood that covered the UK around 10,000 years ago, after the last Ice Age.
Ancient woods are the jewel in our woodland crown. They are our richest sites for wildlife and are full of cultural heritage. Ancient woods are also some of our prettiest woodland - some have carpets of bluebells, wood anemones and celandines in spring.
But, not all ancient woods are the same. They vary from the native pinewoods in the Cairngorms of Scotland to the moist and lichen-rich oakwoods of the Atlantic seaboard and the flower rich coppice woodland in south-east England.