THE ANCIENT WOODLAND IS FULL OF VETERAN OAKS

THE WOODLAND IS CARPETED WITH BLUEBELLS IN SPRING

THE REDWOOD GETTING A WELL DESERVED SEVEN-PERSON HUG!

Our Woodland

For over twenty years before Redwood Valley opened its doors the family has been managing the woodland with the aim of returning it to a more natural state. Two of the main challenges were removing rubbish and controlling invasive and non-native species such as laurel, rhododendron and large areas of larch. Today we continue with these efforts as well as focussing more on increasing biodiversity. This is achieved through various management practises, including replanting with native species. To date we have planted over 1100 trees and shrubs.

The woodland has areas of minimal intervention and more managed parts (plantation, coppice and continuous cover). The largest part is the ancient oak woodland is dominated by around 50 magnificent sessile oaks, some of which we believe to be well over 400 years old. There are some non-native specimen trees, planted in the nineteenth century. The grandest of these is the redwood which rises to nearly 50 metres. There is also what is believed to be a Charlie tree, a Scots pine planted in mute support of Bonnie Prince Charlie who led the Jacobite uprising in 1745. See if you can spot it! For more information on native and non-native trees, visit the Woodland Trust website.

Increasing Biodiversity

Redwood Valley provides a wide variety of habitats including woodland, meadow and stream. As such, it supports a diverse range of plant, fungi, insect and animal life. Since 2017 we have also been planting a lot of smaller trees and shrubs such as sallow, hazel, hawthorn, blackthorn and dogwood to increase the understorey and provide further habitats.

One place where we have seen a huge increase in biodiversity has been the meadow. Originally consisting of thick grass we have been mowing and removing the hay from the meadow for over a decade now. This has had the effect of weakening the soil and encouraging wildflowers, which in turn has seen a proliferation of insect species. Over the last 50 years 98% of the UK’S wildflower meadows have been lost, so we feel it’s particularly important to maintain this important habitat.

Our most recent project to increase biodiversity has been the creation of a large wildlife pond at the bottom of the meadow. After just six months we saw huge numbers of invertebrates and other aquatic life appear. We even found a large native (white-clawed) crayfish!

 

Red Admiral butterfly

Mistle Thrush

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Monitoring Wildlife

We have a very diverse range of native species on site and to keep an eye on all this wildlife we conduct annual bird, bat and moth surveys and regularly set camera traps to monitor larger animals.

Bird species are numerous but look out for buzzards, red kites, spotted and pied flycatchers, redstarts, dippers, greater spotted woodpeckers, tawny owls, jays, nuthatches, warblers and treecreepers. You may also catch sight of roe deer, foxes and stoats or pipistrelle and noctule bats swooping low over the meadow as you sit down to your BBQ. And if you’re particularly lucky you may even spot our visiting dog otter by the brook! If you want a closer look we have a bat detector and camera trap that you can borrow.

Ancient woodland plants include yellow archangel, campion, dogs mercury, lords and ladies, wood sorrel, bluebells, and foxgloves. In the meadow you will find a wide variety of wildflowers including sorrel, rattle, knapweed, bugle, stitchwort, buttercups and clovers. These in turn attract numerous species of bee and butterfly. Closer to the brook and pond look out for dragonflies and damselflies.

This is just a small selection of the flora and fauna at Redwood Valley but you will find identification books in the kitchen area so that you can search out more for yourselves. The RSPB and Butterfly Conservation websites also have handy tools for helping identify birds and butterflies. We would like to continue to document the species found at Redwood Valley so hope that you will tell us about your own finds. Please read our 2017, 2018 and 2019 wildlife surveys for more details.