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Wildlife, trees and plants at Lake Wood

Important species found in the wood include dormouse, yellow-necked mouse, great crested newt, five species of bat and deer. There are almost 60 species of bird – including kingfisher, heron, cormorant, nuthatch, sandpiper and the occasional visit from a Canada goose. The lake also supports an interesting fish population including eel, pike and perch. One of the reasons there aren’t many wild game birds on the lake is because they seem to sense there are very large pike under the water!

Lake Wood is classified as ancient semi-natural woodland although much of it was extensively modified in the late 18th and early 19th century by the enlargement of the lake and the planting of exotic trees and shrubs.

Species include beech, lime, sweet chestnut, horse chestnut, sycamore, coast redwood, Wellingtonia and Monterey pine. Areas cleared of rhododendron ponticum are now regenerating with birch and sycamore and some heather.

(Photo: WTML)

The northern and western part of the site are designated ancient semi-natural woodland, although a significant wind-blow of large trees in 1987 has given rise to areas of birch regeneration with rhododendron and cherry laurel. Overstood (abandoned) hazel and hornbeam coppice with oak standards occur in the north-west; while mixed overstood coppice of sweet chestnut, birch, hazel, and sycamore with oak standards and occasional conifer occur in the east. 

Hazel coppicing

A small amount of hazel coppicing still takes place in Lake Wood with the poles used for bean poles, pea sticks and other structures for climbing plants. In former times, hazel would be cut to ground level and the poles used to make hurdles for herding sheep and also for wattle and daub used in building houses.

Ground flora includes woodland specialist species such as wood anemone, bluebell, wood sorrel, tutsan, primrose, wood spurge, Solomon's seal, wild garlic, early purple orchid and moschatel. And the impressive royal fern can be seen around the lake, rare elsewhere in Sussex.