The central areas of the Botanic Garden are surrounded by woodland native to the British Isles. This provides a beautiful backdrop to the garden, isolating it from the bustle of the outside world. A woodland trail leads from the garden to our wildflower meadow, following a calm steam and crossing small bridges. Alternatively, the extensive woodland is perfect for those looking simply to escape from the world and get back to nature, with a peaceful wander along forest paths perfect at any time of the year.
The deciduous woodland vegetation is divided into distinct layers. Below the over-arching tree canopy there is a layer of smaller, shade-adapted trees and shrubs, whilst below these lies a ground layer of woodland herbs, ferns, mosses and fungi. A wide variety of wildlife, including insects, mammals and birds, thrives in this sheltered habitat. Mosses continue to grow during the leafless winter months and the finest display of wild flowers like bluebell is in spring, before buds burst in the tree canopy and plunge the woodland floor into deep summer shade.
Dead wood is an important wildlife resource in woodlands, playing host to fungi, wood-boring beetles and birds like the great spotted woodpecker. Unsafe branches are removed, but then left to decay amongst the leaf litter, where they continue to enrich the woodland’s wildlife for many years. Occasionally a tree may be felled by a storm and shafts of sunlight will reach the forest floor through the gap in the leaf canopy, allowing the next generation of saplings to grow towards their place in the sun. This is part of the natural cycle of regeneration in old woodlands. This woodland consists mainly of Oak and Beech trees with a small number of other species such as Rowan, Birch and Sycamore.
Download the Nature Trail
Suitable for young children, this activity teaches about the wildlife in the garden, allowing kids to colour in pictures of animals as they find them hidden in their natural habitats around the garden.