A brief woodland history

Brief History of British Woodland.

Last glaciation 100,000 – 12,000 BC most of Britain would have been bare of trees.

Tundra and moorland followed the retreating ice followed by pioneer species such as birch and willow.

By 8500 BC pine and hazel spread north followed by oak, alder lime, elm ash, beech and hornbeam. The earlier trees were those of artic conditions the later those of warmer climates.

Wildwood is the term that describes these woodlands as yet untouched by people. A recent theory suggests that these woods were not impenetrable and closed but resembled a park-like landscape grazed by wild herbivores.

At the end of the Mesolithic period there is evidence of the beginnings of agriculture. This starts the time of the clearing of Wildwood the Neolithic period.

Slash and burn principles applied to clear ground for planting with tools being used to work the wood.

Half of England had ceased to be wildwood by 500BC. Although coppicing was now evident with communities looking after and using some woods as a sustainable resource.

Woodland cover continued to shrink from 15% in the 11th century to 10% in the 14th. Wildwoods are now nonexistent.

So please, When your out and about foraging, Show some respect to your surroundings, Thank you.

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