The New Forest boasts an impressive array of
"Please drive slow for the ponies"
Woodlands within the New Forest vary from the coniferous plantations, through recently established birch scrub to wet valley alder and willow woods.
However it is the ancient broad-leaved woodlands, dominated by oak trees, which are the most special for their wildlife.
Woodlands are special because the trees form a shaded canopy in summer, so only those plants that are adapted to this can survive. The dampness and type of soil will result in different types of woodland, even in the same local area.
Woodlands are very common worldwide, but ancient oak woodlands are a decreasing habitat and few very old areas survive in north-west Europe.
The most common types of flower that grow in these woodlands are those that flower early in the spring before the leaves of the trees open and cast their shade.
Many of the ancient New Forest woodlands have never been intensively modified, or worked, by man. Now they are mostly left as non-intervention (except the coniferous plantations). This does not mean that they are neglected, but that it has been determined that the best way to manage these woods for wildlife is to continue with letting nature run its course and allowing the grazing animals continued access to the woods and leaving dead and dying wood to rot in situ.
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