RODD WOOD, TREES AND HEDGEROWS
Rodd Wood is a particularly fine example of Ancient Semi Natural Woodland. It has been managed in the past for centuries as hazel, ash and sweet chestnut coppice with oak, ash and sweet chestnut standards. During the last ten years the wood has been brought under a management regime which has involved the removal and thinning of non-native softwood plantations and their replacement (by natural regeneration) by the oak/ash mixture. A coppice rotation has also begun with two compartments of approximately one hectare completed. The wood is home to populations of Fallow, Roe Deer and Muntjac that enjoy grazing the fresh regrowth of coppice stools making woodland management in this manner a challenge.
Coppicing of the wood allows in light encouraging the flowering and seeding of many of the plants of the ancient woodland floor flora - wood anemone, enchanter’s nightshade, sweet woodruff, primrose, bluebells, archangel, wild garlic, violets, early purple orchid, herb paris, pig nut and many more. 26 ancient woodland indicator species have been recorded in Rodd Wood over the last few years pointing to continuous tree cover in the past. It is likely that Rodd Wood remains as the natural cover for an area of heavy wet clay that sits on the underlying rock and that proved to be impossible to cultivate.
One of the wood’s most endearing residents is the Dormouse which spends most of the day asleep in nests of honey suckle bark, grass moss and leaves. What with a long winter hibernation they are asleep for more than three quarters of their lives. When awake they feed on nuts, seeds, flowers, fruit and insects. It is the characteristic tooth marks on hazelnut shells that, in the absence of actual sightings, allows their presence to be determined.
Since 1998 the Trust has planted over 10,000 native trees and shrubs. This was to extend the wood into areas of rough ground, creating wildlife bridges between the main part of the wood and other wooded areas and to connect the woodland with the mature hedgerows of the farm. The farm's hedges are allowed to mature naturally, reaching their most productive (in terms of fruit, nuts and seeds) between 6-10 years of age and are an essential autumnal food source for the small woodland mammals and overwintering birds. The hedges are then coppicced on a 10-15 year cycle when any gaps allow for new planting of native species, contributing to the hedge and overall farm diversity.