Warwickshire's Ancient Woodlands

Small-leaved lime tree: typical of ancient woodland.
Image by DontWorry. Originally uploaded to Wikimedia Commons.

The first woodlands

Following retreat of the last ice sheets, roughly 12,000 years ago, the climate warmed and woodlands spread over much of central England, colonising the rich fertile soils, nourished by the spreads of diverse glacial deposits. These woods may have remained for several thousand years, before felling was initiated by our Neolithic ancestors.

Dominant trees

The dominant trees were small-leaved lime, with some large-leaved lime, oak and elm. Small patches of very ancient woodland still exist in parts of our county, providing a clear link to the past. Hartshill Hayes provides an interesting example; both small-leaved and large-leaved lime providing a link to our ancient past. This residual patch of semi-natural ancient woodland is now a Country Park and provides a sense of what ancient Warwickshire was really like.

In the present day, conservation schemes in Warwickshire are striving to preserve and re-connect the scattered patches of ancient woodland.