Stoke Wood

Community case studies


Stoke Wood is a 35 ha wood situated in relatively flat open farmed landscape and is unconnected to other woods. In the 1950s half of the wood was planted with conifers and the main conifer species present is European larch, with smaller proportions of Corsican and Scots pine. The long term management of broadleaf species including hazel, ash, field maple and oak through coppicing ceased in the 1950s, leading to the development of large broadleaf trees now observed in the wood. The wood is especially important for its woodland flora and during spring there is an impressive ground cover of woodland flowers such as bluebell, wood anemone, early purple orchid and primrose.

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The wood has historic importance as a very large old woodbank surrounds most of the perimeter of the wood, and there are also other internal earth banks of ancient origin which researchers believe may be connected with a burial chamber. An area of the wood was damaged in 1954, when an American B47 bomber plane crashed into the wood killing its crew.

The long-term plan for this wood is to gradually restore the Planted Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS) area, securing the ancient woodland components of this wood. Natural regeneration of native broadleaves will improve the structural diversity and species composition of the woods. The emphasis is on a gradual restoration, with only a small proportion of conifers removed in any operation limiting impact on ground flora, temperatures and invasion of course vegetation. The broadleaf component of the wood will be allowed to develop naturally, as there is already good structural and species diversity present. Chalara is an acknowledged threat and the decline of ash will be monitored to ensure that restructuring occurs and suitable alternative species such as hawthorn, hazel and sycamore fill gaps.  

This wood provides significant access to locals in an area with few similar opportunities, but the majority of visitors arrive by car due to the nearest village Stoke Lyne being several miles away. ‘Logs for Labour' volunteers meet in the wood to help manage the hazel coppice and receive firewood in return.  

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