The best woods for game are open, mixed woods. The trees are well spaced and allow a shrub and ground flora to develop, where pheasant and woodcock can nest. Unthinned blocks of closely planted trees are next to useless. While there has been a strong reaction against planting stands of conifer, a few softwoods, mixed with deciduous trees is ideal. Under the trees some evergreen shrubs too help to provide shelter and warmth in winter. But the best way of warming a wood is giving it a good shrubby edge.
A woodland edge can be improved by pulling back the field boundary away from the wood, and by thinning and cutting back the trees. This latter is especially important on northern aspects, where little may grow under over hanging branches and tall trees. Grass cover and typical hedgerow species like hawthorn and beech make good woodland edge species, but also consider some evergreens like gorse.
Remember gamebirds like pheasant and, in the uplands, the rare black grouse, make their home along the woodland edge. More woodland edge means more game.
*By submitting your email address you are giving your consent to receive emails from the GWCT about our work with the opportunity to unsubscribe at any time.