Neutral dry woodland

Possible BAP priority habitat typeScottish Forestry GuideNVC
Upland oakwood 5. Upland oakwoods W11
Upland birchwoods 6. Upland birchwoods W11
Lowland mixed deciduous woodland 3. Lowland Mixed Broadleaved Woods W10
Wood pasture and parkland    

Woodland description

This is a woodland type of the uplands, upland fringes and lowlands with free-draining, brown earth soils that are either neutral or mildly acidic. It may be dominated by oak or by birch or it may contain a mix of the two species.

Hazel may be abundant, even dominant, and rowan is nearly always present. Ash and hawthorn may be present.

Depending on soil conditions, this woodland type may grade into ‘base-rich dry’ or ‘acidic dry’ woodland types. Some ‘Atlantic hazelwoods’ may fit into this type, others on base-rich soils will be a component of the base-rich dry type.

In the lowlands this woodland type often occurs with well-defined boundaries within an enclosed landscape.

Wood pastures in the uplands and upland fringes may have the characteristics of very open, ancient, semi-natural woodland.

Ground flora

The ground flora will be influenced by soil conditions, climate and grazing history but may include: 

  • Herbs: Small herbs may be conspicuous, especially when in flower. Typical species are bluebell, primrose, wood sorrel and greater stitchwort. Bramble and honeysuckle are widespread and when grazing is light or absent they can develop into a rank understorey of tall herbs.
  • Ferns, grasses and rushes: This woodland type is often characterised by a grassy sward, typically containing creeping soft-rush, Yorkshire fog, sweet vernal grass, bents and fescues. Bracken is very often a component in the grassy sward and in open woodland it can dominate the field layer. Rushes and sedges may define small flushes within the wood. 
  • Lower plants: Mosses and liverworts are less abundant then in acidic woodland types though they may carpet rocks and tree stems, especially in western woods. Rich lichen assemblages may be present on tree stems.

Forage potential

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

See also: