Beautiful blanket of bluebells

Situated near a quiet country land on the Wiltshire/Dorset border, this 142-acre woodland, managed by the Woodland Trust, who acquired it in 1993, is a hidden gem.

 It consists of a mix of SNAW (Semi-Natural Ancient Woodland) and recent planting.

The older trees, largely oak and ash, are remnants of the Forest of Selwood, which was felled in Mediaeval times.  They provide an important link to this historic past.  The new woodland, planted in 1995, comprises shrubs of blackthorn, hawthorn, blackthorn, holly and hazel provide valuable ground cover.  Natural regeneration, including hazel and bramble, contribute. 

Many woodlands have suffered from a lack of management in the post war years, limiting biodiversity.  This site is an example of the benefits of management.  Shrubs and smaller trees, including Field Maple, Holly, Blackthorn and Hawthorn, are prevalent, forming valuable ground cover.  Wildlife, and especially birds, appreciate the provision; their spring calls brought an audible contribution and added a dimension to the woodland, enhancing its appeal.

The long-term aim is to have a mixture of wood pasture (trees growing in pasture) at 70% and open spaces with grassland (30%).  The woodland area is being protected from grazing so that the valuable flora can be protected from encroachment.  It is facilitated in the wider site.

Away from the older woodland, hazel has been planted, and has potential for regular harvesting.  Harvested timber is being retained in stacks forming dead wood piles providing habitation for ground mammals.  Within the woodland, taller trees, now dead, are being retained in situ, providing a really important habitat.  Standing dead wood is especially rare and valuable as a habitat.

Some trees, suffering from pests such as Ash Dieback, having been left to decline in the safety of this woodland, and now show the structure of the exposed wood under the peeling back, a rare insight as affected trees are often felled before this stage is reached.

The increase in woodland species and ground over has already benefitted the local ecology:

Ground flora includes bluebells, primroses and wood anemone, ferns, mosses and dog rose.

Open spaces encourage butterflies such as peacock and orange tips.

Deer prints hint of their presence and the increase in bird song brings an added dimension to the beautiful experience of Mackintosh Davidson Woodland.

To find out more, or to plan a visit, go to and search for the Mackintosh Davidson Woodland pdf.

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