Highbury Wood SSSI - COPPICE COUPES (001)
Staff member responsible: KATEY STEPHEN
Unit Id: 1013653
Unit area (ha): 28.0199
Unit Status: Live Gridref: SO 540 087
Main habitat: BROADLEAVED, MIXED AND YEW WOODLAND - Lowland
Condition (click for history): Favourable Assessed by: HACKMAN, (PAUL)
Last assessed: 16/05/2014 Last field visit: 01/05/2014
ISA Survey: View Surveys
Date of site check: Last CSM assessment: 16/05/2014
Condition assessment comment:

This unit comprises mostly W8 woodland coppice with some areas recently coppiced whilst others are still to come back into rotation. Hence the woodland has a mosaic of temporary open space, dense neglected coppice and some inaccessible high forest areas (associated with the steep cliff areas). There has been no loss of the feature so this attribute is favourable.

Structure and natural processes

The canopy varies between 50 and 90% (10% in coppice stands) and is typically ash and cherry with some yew, lime and birch. The understorey (which in places forms more of a sub canopy where typical canopy trees are absent) also varies between 50 and 90% and comprises the above species plus hazel, holly, wych elm and field maple. Open space probably averages 10% across the unit and was mainly in the form of recent coppice coupes (fenced against deer). The permanent open space (rides and glades) were quite limited. Veteran trees were also quite limited as might be expected within a coppice wood, although large yew trees were present. Fallen deadwood was well represented and it appeared that quite a few of the fallen trees were through recent storm damage. Standing deadwood was less apparent but at acceptable levels. Age class diversity was mainly three (due to presence of large yew trees) although two I would say is also acceptable within a historically coppiced woodland. This attribute is favourable.

 

Regeneration potential

Saplings and young trees (cherry and ash) were present within the recent coppice areas, although most of the regeneration within these areas were shrub species and brambles. The deer exclosures around the recent coppice coupes were successfully preventing deer browsing and the non-fenced (albeit mainly closed canopy) areas only had low browsing levels. There was no planting. This attribute is favourable.

 

Tree and shrub composition

There were very few non-native species although there were a few sycamore trees (within the understorey) along the Eastern edge of the wood. There were no signs of disease or dieback apart from some minor squirrel damage (including on the sycamore). This attribute is favourable.

 

Quality indicators

The ground flora was typical of a W8 woodland and was rich and diverse, including bluebell, dog’s mercury, wild garlic, woodruff, yellow archangel, spurge laurel, wood spurge, and early purple orchid. The notable butterfly orchid was also seen (see map). This attribute is favourable.

 

This assessment has been carried out without reference to the NNR Plan or discussions with the NNR Site Manager (recently left). The unit can be considered as favourable, however levels of standing deadwood could be increased, more permanent open space should be considered, opportunities for tree species within the (bramble and shrub dominated) coppice coupes should be considered and the sycamore along the eastern side of the wood should be monitored and controlled.

Number of adverse condition reasons: 0
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