Base-rich dry woodland

Possible BAP priority habitat typeScottish Forestry GuideNVC
Upland mixed ashwoods 4. Upland mixed ashwoods W9
Lowland mixed deciduous woodland 3. Lowland Mixed Broadleaved Woods W8
Wood pasture and parkland    

Woodland description

This woodland type occurs on base-rich soils in the uplands, upland fringes and lowlands. It can be extensive when associated with calcareous rocks, though it may occur as smaller stands on maritime cliffs and within other woodland types, marking out features such as flush lines and ravines. 

Ash and hazel are characteristic species, oak and birch are likely to be present locally. Hawthorn and elder can be present and wych elm is widespread in the west Highlands though rarely abundant. 

In lowland woods that have been affected by Dutch Elm disease, elm has been relegated to an understorey species.

In the lowlands this woodland type often occurs with well-defined boundaries within an enclosed landscape. It frequently occurs with a wood pasture and parkland structure  in the uplands and upland fringes.  Here,  wood pasture is likely to have the characteristics of very open, ancient, semi-natural woodland.

Ground flora

The ground flora is likely to be species-rich and may include: 

  • Herbs: A wide variety and abundance of herbs characterise this woodland type. Typically they include dog’s mercury, sanicle, wood sorrel and primrose. Tall herbs such as nettle and meadowsweet may flourish, especially when grazing levels are low. Ivy or wild garlic may be abundant in some woods. Where grazing pressure is light, bramble and honeysuckle may be abundant and rank.
  • Ferns, grasses and rushes: Grasses may be abundant though they rarely dominate. Distinctive species include false oat-grass and tufted hair-grass. Tall ferns such as lady fern, male fern and scaly male fern are likely to be frequent where conditions are humid. 
  • Lower plants: Mosses, liverworts and lichens may be very abundant, especially on rocks and tree stems in western woods.

Forage potential

This is potentially one of the more productive woodland types, with both grasses and herbs offering good forage potential. 

See also: