|IPA Factsheet - Longleat Woods and Parks|
Site Description The core area of this site is a large, ancient, semi-natural broadleaved woodland with a predominantly high forest structure, which is unusual in South West Britain. Over the majority of the site, where soils are poorly drained but not waterlogged, the major canopy-forming tree is Pedunculate Oak Quercus robur, with Ash Fraxinus excelsior and Hazel, Coryllus avelana, occuring throughout.. Where soils are slightly calcareous, Field Maple Acer campestre and occasionally Wych Elm Ulmus glabra are associated shrub species . In parts of the site the woodland gives way to parkland with fine mature trees. The ground flora has a high number of species characteristic of ancient woodland, including Wood Anemone, Anemone nemorosa and Bluebell, Hyacinthiodes non-scripta. Thin-spiked Wood-sedge, Carex strigosa, and Broad-leaved Helleborine, Epipactis helleborine are among the less common species present in wetter areas. Where soils are neutral or slightly acidic, Hornbeam Carpinus betulus occurs locally, mostly as coppice. Guelder-rose Viburnum opulus and Alder Buckthorn Frangula alnus are found in the shrub layer. Longleat Woods and Park has an exceptional diversity of bryophytes and lichens, including several species with nationally restricted distribution. The epiphytic lichen flora includes Lobaria pulmonaria,Thelotrema lepadinum, Arthopyrenia cinereopruinosa, Catillaria sphaeroides and Pachyphiale cornea, all species characteristic of ancient woodland and parkland in clean air conditions. These are much reduced communities following habitat loss and pollution increases in the twentieth century, making the High Wood area of the Longleat site all the more important. SSSI citation 1983 – as revised 1992.
Botanical Significance Noted for lichen interest. High forest with diverse epiphytic and other bryophytes and lichens.
General Habitat Description