Wildlife in Penn and Common Woods

Brimstone butterfly (Photo: Libby Owen/WTML)

Wild boar, wolves and deer roamed the wood in the middle ages, and there are still roe deer to be seen by observant visitors today.

A wide-range of bird species can be found in the wood including brambling, tawny owl, cuckoo and garden warbler. Red kite, kestrel and buzzard are also commonly seen overhead.

An invertebrate study of the site in 2000 found 10 nationally scarce beetles, of which two are considered to be ancient woodland indicator species.

The range of habitats supports a diversity of species adapted to completely different ecological niches. This can be illustrated by the wood’s butterflies. While the purple hairstreak lives in the high canopy, ringlet and marbled white depend on wide sunny glades, and the grizzled and dingy skippers prefer young plantations. Each species has evolved adaptations to exploit different microclimates and food sources, so reducing competition. Other butterflies inhabiting the wood include speckled wood, brimstone and brown hairstreak. The hawker and ruddy darter dragonfly have also been spotted.

The Trust intends to restore and enhance the biodiversity of Penn Wood which has the potential for addressing several Species Action Plans relating to the nightjar, woodlark and dormouse which are all former residents of the wood. Maintaining this mosaic of habitats will provide both breeding and feeding sites, encouraging them to return.

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