Native deciduous woodland is a rich, diverse habitat, which supports a range of different species.
Birds associated with this woodland type include the smallest British bird, the elusive Goldcrest, the Great Spotted Woodpecker (more often heard than seen) and the ‘screamer of the wood’, the noisy Jay.
Often the best time to spot birds is during the winter when the leaves have dropped from the trees, but for a very special experience, visit woodlands early in the morning during spring to hear the wonder of the dawn chorus.
Deciduous woodlands are incredible places to see a wide range of fungi, from tiny, delicate Bonnets, bright Yellow Staghorn Fungus and huge brackets of Dryad’s Saddle, to the infamous fairy toadstools of the poisonous Fly Agaric.
The autumn months are the best time to see fungi in the woodlands, although you will see some from the summer through to early spring.
Keep a look out for the striking Lords and Ladies, majestic Foxglove and the Hart’s Tongue Fern.
Visit in the spring to see the beautiful flowers which grace the woodland floor including bluebells, anemones, wild garlic, wood sorrel and lesser celandine, which flourish in early spring before the trees have all their leaves and cut out the light.
Deciduous woodlands can support a range of epiphytic woodland lichens (lichens growing on trees).
Lichens are ancient - some colonies are over 8,000 years old - and unusual organisms, as they are actually two organisms working in a symbiotic partnership, a fungus and algae, working together for mutual benefit.
Lichens can tell us much about the ‘health’ of our environment, as they are sensitive indicators of pollution.
Look for lichens on the bark of trees, on branches, rocks and stones.
Moths and butterflies
Although butterflies are sun worshippers, there are many that will take up residence in woodland.
In sunny patches look for Speckled Wood, Red Admiral and Ringlets, or look up and see if you can see Purple Hairstreak or White-letter Hairstreak in the canopy of oaks and elms.
You may see moths including the Sprawler Moth and Lobster Moth, both of which are indicators of an ancient semi-natural woodland, or the day-flying Speckled Yellow moth.