Astridge Wood SSSI - ASTRIDGE WOOD (001)
Staff member responsible: KATEY STEPHEN
Unit Id: 1013404
Unit area (ha): 19.456
Unit Status: Live Gridref: SO 546 087
Main habitat: BROADLEAVED, MIXED AND YEW WOODLAND - Lowland
Condition (click for history): Favourable Assessed by: HACKMAN, (JO)
Last assessed: 17/06/2014 Last field visit: 01/05/2014
ISA Survey: View Surveys
Date of site check: Last CSM assessment: 17/06/2014
Comment:

This ISA visit was made on 14th May 2014 by Jo Hackman and Kimberley Parsons of Natural England.

 

Astridge Wood is a developing high forest from mostly relict coppice.The canopy varies from 70 to 100%. Ash Fraxinus excelsior and Lime Tilia sp, are the most common species with Oak Quercus sp., Silver birch Betula pendula, Beech Fagus sylvatica, Wych Elm Ulmus glabra, Yew Taxus baccta and Field Maple Acer pseudoplatanus also present. Most trees are medium-aged. Three young Wild service Sorbus torminalis trees were located.

 

The shrub layer includes Hazel Corylus avellanus, Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna, Dogwood Cornus sanguea, Spindle Eunonymus europaeus, Bramble Rubus fruiticosus and Willow Salix sp.

 

The ground layer is species rich which is characteristic of a W8 woodland community. Bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta, Ramsons Allium ursinum and Dog’s mercury Mercurialis perennis, are typical. In places Sweet woodruff Galium odoratum, Bugle Ajuga reptans, Yellow archangel Galeobdolon luteum, Sanicle Sanicula europaea, Wild daffodil Narcissus pseudonarcissus, and Tutsan Hypericum androsaemum are found. Toothwort Lathraea squamaria c. (9 plants), Early purple orchid Orchis mascula (c. 17 plants), Common spotted orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii, and Broad-leaved helleborine Epipactis helleborine are also present along the main tracks. The tops of the latter plant appeared to have been nibbled possibly by deer. The lower track is fairly wet. Pendulous sedge Carex pendula and Hart’s tounge fern Asplenium scolopendrium are present in places. The latter being found mostly in areas of boulder scree above the top track. This area is dominated by a grove of Yew Taxus baccata trees.

 

There is little in the way of open space except for that along the main tracks which have been the subject of a small amount of trackside shrub cutting. There are no areas of recent coppice.

 

Both standing and fallen deadwood is quite plentiful most of it coming from dead oak limbs and silver birch. There are few mature trees and no real veteran trees as yet.

 

Ash seedlings and saplings were common. There is no tree planting. The deer browsing level is mostly low and in one or two places near the lower track it is moderate. It does not appear to be limiting regeneration however this should be monitored. No evidence of wild boar was observed.

 

The location of the nationally scarce large leaved lime Tilia platyphyllos and narrow-leaved bitter-cress Cardamine impatiens were not identified and there were no records on file of locations.

 

Orange tip butterflies, Robin, Blackbird and Chaffinch were noted.

 

This unit can be considered as favourable. However open space is poorly represented and further rotational coppicing within the woodland and along rides would be beneficial to maintain structural diversity. It would be useful to have a dialogue with the owner about the creation of open space, the current levels of deer browsing and consider any future options for control.

Number of adverse condition reasons: 0
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