A new desk based method of digitising, characterising, and recording woodland at a landscape scale.

Woodland Report image

A new way of determining the origins of woodland and describing their function within the landscape of the Cranborne Chase & West Wiltshire Downs AONB

The National Inventory of Woodland and Trees (2002), describes substantial tracts of woodland within the AONB as being Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland (ASNW); amounting to 7,201 hectares. However, the AONB knew that this figure was wrong to some extent as a certain amount of ASNW had been wrongly identified as being so and some very old woodlands were excluded. But just how wrong was it? They needed a new way of determining the origins of woodland and ways of describing their function within the landscape so that landscape scale activity can link and bolster this nationally important aggregation of woodland. This demanded up to date, high quality data.

The primary product produced by us was a new digital woodland dataset for the AONB. This dataset identifies all the woodland in the AONB regardless of size. It used existing data available to the AONB in a new way. The dataset applied a much broader definition of woodland than that used in the national inventory of woodland and trees. All the different kinds of woodland habitat that are found to be found on the AONB were recorded. This includes features such as wooded scrub on the sides of chalk escarpments, small copses in the corners of fields and small ornamental plantations within the setting of larger designed landscapes, all of which tended to be excluded from the previous datasets available to the AONB.

Wood GIS image

The GIS Model

Information was recorded for each woodland, from modern maps, aerial photographs, historic maps and Historic Landscape Characterisation data, on the date of origin of the woodland, type of wood present, and how connected the wood was other veteran woodland

This new dataset was then used as the basis of a report providing guidance and advice on the management of woodland within different landscape character areas.

You can view the full methodology on the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs AONB Website as well as the Guidance document.

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