Oak, ash, and hazel trees are the dominant varieties at Holyford Woods - a diverse age range from saplings to ancient trees and standing deadwood. There is also a large amount of holly, hawthorn, birch, and some willow and alder at lower levels. The south side of the valley still has some conifers, originally planted back in the 1960's.
Plants such as the wood anemone are plentiful, highlighting the age of the woods. Look out for the delicate white flowers between March and April. Wild garlic abounds in the woodland and fills the air with a delicious smell in the early spring. Another edible plant that occurs in Holyford Woods is wood sorrel. The leaves look like three hearts joined at the pointed end. Wood sorrel flowers between April and May and has a small white flower with purple veins and a yellow centre. Anytime from mid April to early May, large areas of the woods are a sea of blue when the bluebells flower. After that look for the foxgloves, a brilliant display of pink on the south valley slopes, in clearance areas where conifers once stood.
Dead and rotting trees provides a perfect environment for a variety of insects and other small animals to thrive in the woods. Birds nest in holes in the deadwood tree structures, bats roost in handy crevices, and tangled roots can provide nest sites for weasels and wood mice. There are protected species such as dormice and a variety of bats present in the woods, plus roe deer, badgers, foxes, and woodpeckers.
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