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Woodland covered most of Britain for at least 4,000 years, from the end of the last glaciations about 10,000 years ago to the arrival of the first farmers. There was then a long period of deforestation, which lasted into the 20th century. Most of the British woodland has been planted or has regenerated since the initial clearance. In some places, woods or scattered trees have survived in an unbroken line of descent since post-glacial times. Almost all British woods have been managed for timber and fuel for many centuries.

The long history of woodland cover in Britain means that, even though it now occupies only 13% of the land surface, more species are associated with this habitat than with any other. All 15 British bat species use woodlands to some extent, 100 British bird species are regular woodland visitors and 75% of our butterfly species use woodland habitats. Very old woods are of special value. These are known as ‘ancient semi-natural woods’ (ASNW).

If you are looking to manage or create woodlands on your campus, make sure that you have some expert advice about your plans. The Woodland Trust provides free advice on all aspects of woodland and tree management.

Managing Existing Trees and Woodlands

Creating New Woodlands

Designing and Planting

Old and Ancient Woodlands

Veteran Trees

Protecting Veteran Trees

Case Study

Edge Hill University - Trees