Identifying ancient woodlands
The Ancient Woodland Inventory shows woodlands that have had continuous woodland cover for some centuries.
Studies show that these woodlands are usually:
- more ecologically diverse
- have a higher nature conservation value than those developed in recent years
These woodlands may also be culturally important.
If woodland cover on the site has been intermittent it’s not usually described as an ancient woodland.
The four categories of ancient woodland
The Ancient Woodland Inventory places woodland into one of four categories:
Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland
Broadleaf woodlands with mainly native tree and shrub species which are believed to have been in existence for over 400 years.
Plantation on Ancient Woodland Sites
Sites which are believed to have been continuously wooded for over 400 years and currently have a canopy cover of more than 50 percent non-native conifer tree species.
Restored Ancient Woodland Sites
Woodlands which are believed to have been continually wooded for over 400 years. These woodlands will have gone through a phase when canopy cover was more than 50% non-native conifer tree species and now have a canopy cover of more than 50 percent broadleaf.
The phrase 'restored ancient woodland' describes woodland which appears, with the use of remote sensing techniques, to have returned to a more natural condition. The inventory designation does not mean that the woodland is fully restored or that it is in good ecological condition.
Ancient Woodland Site of Unknown Category
Woodlands which may be any of the three categories above. These areas are mainly in transition and existing tree cover is described as 'shrubs', 'young trees', 'felled' or 'ground prepared for planting'
The Ancient Woodland Inventory map
Ancient Woodland Inventory enquiries
To make an enquiry about the designation of a woodland in the Ancient Woodland Inventory, please complete and submit our form.