Hampstead Heath Woods SSSI - 1 (001)
Staff member responsible: Conservation Delivery Team
Unit Id: 1004944
Unit area (ha): 1.5595
Unit Status: Live Gridref: TQ 268 870
Main habitat: FEN, MARSH AND SWAMP - Lowland
SITE CHECK:
Date of last site check: 18/05/2018 Checked by: Admin Assessor
Comment: T2018/00079
Condition and Comments (click for history): Favourable Assessed by: GRAHAM STEVEN
Last assessed: 18/05/2018 Last assessment field visit: 18/05/2018
ISA Survey: View Surveys
Last CSM assessment: 18/05/2018
Estimated year unit will go Favourable: 2018 Confidence in estimate: Complete – Favourable Condition Achieved
Comment:

The SSSI was designated because the woodland at Ken Wood and North Wood is of a distinctive type which is rare in the Greater London area, specifically, woodland with a canopy dominated by sessile oak, with rare features such as the presence of wild service tree, and with many features of value to specialised invertebrates of dead and decaying wood. Additional interest is provided by the presence of an acid mire to the west of Ken Wood, although this would not merit SSSI designation alone.

It is clear that there has been no loss of extent of woodland in the SSSI since the designation of the land in 1975. The composition of the woodland retains the distinctive character which was the main reason for its selection as SSSI. The mature tree element which generally dominates the canopy is mostly made up by sessile oak. These appear to be of a similar age suggesting that they were originally planted. However, this should not be interpreted as a negative feature. All of the woodland has a 'natural' character and other tree species in the mature canopy include beech, sweet chestnut, pedunculate oak and ash. In addition, holly, rowan and silver birch are frequent components, with small amounts of cherry and hawthorn. There is a well-developed shrub layer in most of the woodland made up by holly, rowan, hazel, elder and field maple, together with young trees of the canopy tree species. Most notable is the occurrence of wild service tree in Ken Wood. This is a very rare tree in woodlands in Greater London. Non-native tree species make up a minor component of the canopy. The woodland has a significant amount of structural variation. Parts have a tall, mature canopy but there are also frequent gaps in the canopy where trees have collapsed or have been felled. These clearings provide an opportunity for young trees and shrubs to develop, creating bushy areas and thickets. In the wider context of the park as a whole there is good representation of thicket-stage woodland, bushy areas and transitions between mature woodland and scrub through to grassland. This high degree of structural variation provides a wide range of habitat niches for breeding birds and invertebrates. The ground flora is characteristic of the woodland type, reflecting the moderately acid soils. Bracken and bramble are prominent but there is also a wide range of other species. These include broad buckler-fern, wood dock, enchanter's nightshade, bluebell, figwort, remote sedge and herb bennet. The large sessile oaks give the woodland a very distinctive character and, given the great age of the trees, many have features of veteran trees, such as large dead boughs, rot holes, hollow trunks and woodpecker holes. Several very large standing dead trees are present. There are large amounts of dead wood throughout the woodland and distributed across the wider parkland providing excellent habitat conditions for dead wood invertebrates. There is ample evidence of natural tree regeneration throughout the woodland, especially where there are gaps in the canopy. Seedlings, saplings and young trees of oak, rowan, birch, ash and cherry are frequent. There is no evidence of suppression of tree regeneration by deer browsing, which is a very common issue in woodlands in the south east of England. No clear evidence was noted of the effects of ash die-back. There is no evidence of damage or adverse impacts in the woodland. The effects of trampling on woodland soils are limited by restricting public access to clearly defined routes through the woodland. There are no clear signs of the effects of pollution or nutrient enrichment. A significant aspect of the special nature conservation interest of the SSSI is the setting of the woodland. The surrounding parkland includes a wide range of habitats which are likely to help support invertebrate assemblages associated with the woodland and it is likely that the overall diversity of the breeding bird assemblage is enhanced due to the availability of a wide range of habitat types and structures.

Number of adverse condition reasons: 1

Hampstead Heath Woods SSSI - 1 (001)
Staff member responsible: Conservation Delivery Team
Unit Id: 1004944
Unit area (ha): 1.5595
Unit Status: Live Gridref: TQ 268 870
Main habitat: FEN, MARSH AND SWAMP - Lowland
SITE CHECK:
Date of last site check: 18/05/2018 Checked by: Admin Assessor
Comment: T2018/00079
Condition and Comments (click for history): Favourable Assessed by: GRAHAM STEVEN
Last assessed: 18/05/2018 Last assessment field visit: 18/05/2018
ISA Survey: View Surveys
Last CSM assessment: 18/05/2018
Estimated year unit will go Favourable: 2018 Confidence in estimate: Complete – Favourable Condition Achieved
Comment:

The SSSI was designated because the woodland at Ken Wood and North Wood is of a distinctive type which is rare in the Greater London area, specifically, woodland with a canopy dominated by sessile oak, with rare features such as the presence of wild service tree, and with many features of value to specialised invertebrates of dead and decaying wood. Additional interest is provided by the presence of an acid mire to the west of Ken Wood, although this would not merit SSSI designation alone.

It is clear that there has been no loss of extent of woodland in the SSSI since the designation of the land in 1975. The composition of the woodland retains the distinctive character which was the main reason for its selection as SSSI. The mature tree element which generally dominates the canopy is mostly made up by sessile oak. These appear to be of a similar age suggesting that they were originally planted. However, this should not be interpreted as a negative feature. All of the woodland has a 'natural' character and other tree species in the mature canopy include beech, sweet chestnut, pedunculate oak and ash. In addition, holly, rowan and silver birch are frequent components, with small amounts of cherry and hawthorn. There is a well-developed shrub layer in most of the woodland made up by holly, rowan, hazel, elder and field maple, together with young trees of the canopy tree species. Most notable is the occurrence of wild service tree in Ken Wood. This is a very rare tree in woodlands in Greater London. Non-native tree species make up a minor component of the canopy. The woodland has a significant amount of structural variation. Parts have a tall, mature canopy but there are also frequent gaps in the canopy where trees have collapsed or have been felled. These clearings provide an opportunity for young trees and shrubs to develop, creating bushy areas and thickets. In the wider context of the park as a whole there is good representation of thicket-stage woodland, bushy areas and transitions between mature woodland and scrub through to grassland. This high degree of structural variation provides a wide range of habitat niches for breeding birds and invertebrates. The ground flora is characteristic of the woodland type, reflecting the moderately acid soils. Bracken and bramble are prominent but there is also a wide range of other species. These include broad buckler-fern, wood dock, enchanter's nightshade, bluebell, figwort, remote sedge and herb bennet. The large sessile oaks give the woodland a very distinctive character and, given the great age of the trees, many have features of veteran trees, such as large dead boughs, rot holes, hollow trunks and woodpecker holes. Several very large standing dead trees are present. There are large amounts of dead wood throughout the woodland and distributed across the wider parkland providing excellent habitat conditions for dead wood invertebrates. There is ample evidence of natural tree regeneration throughout the woodland, especially where there are gaps in the canopy. Seedlings, saplings and young trees of oak, rowan, birch, ash and cherry are frequent. There is no evidence of suppression of tree regeneration by deer browsing, which is a very common issue in woodlands in the south east of England. No clear evidence was noted of the effects of ash die-back. There is no evidence of damage or adverse impacts in the woodland. The effects of trampling on woodland soils are limited by restricting public access to clearly defined routes through the woodland. There are no clear signs of the effects of pollution or nutrient enrichment. A significant aspect of the special nature conservation interest of the SSSI is the setting of the woodland. The surrounding parkland includes a wide range of habitats which are likely to help support invertebrate assemblages associated with the woodland and it is likely that the overall diversity of the breeding bird assemblage is enhanced due to the availability of a wide range of habitat types and structures.

Number of adverse condition reasons: 1
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