Ecology at Huntley Wood

Due to its former history as a sand and gravel quarry which has since been subject to a variety of restoration measures, Huntley Wood is now a matrix of different habitats in a relatively small area, making it a haven for a wide variety of native plants and animals.

The site is comprised of five broad habitat types: ancient semi-natural woodland; plantation/regenerating woodland; patches of lowland heath; areas of bare ground/sparse vegetation and a range of fresh water ponds. Within these broad habitat types there are a number of sub-habitats, giving even wider diversity. This diversity of habitats makes Huntley Wood an important ecological site, and the land is managed in accordance with a woodland and ecology management plan which aims to conserve and improve the habitats here.

The habitats at Huntley Wood support a variety of notable species, including buzzards, badgers and pole cats, as well as the more common rabbits, squirrels and foxes. Huntley Wood is also home various amphibian species including frogs, toads and newts, and innumerable invertebrates including bees, beetles, butterflys (in particular the notable dingy skipper, Erynnis tages), moths, hoverflys, wasps, damsel- and dragonflys. Our conservation management plan includes the erection of bat boxes and artificial sand martin burrows to encourage these species, both of which have been known to use the site historically.

Huntley Wood has six ponds of varying sizes which are a result of the former quarrying activity on the site, and which support a range of wildlife from water birds through to water invertebrates.

As well as interesting wildlife, Huntley Wood also has a wide variety of native plants including large areas of broadleaf woodland and many wildflower species such as: bird’s foot trefoil; foxgloves; clover; knapweed; longstalk starwort; tufted vetch; red, white and bladder campion; common bistort; self heal; a variety of willowherbs; speedwell; dog daisys and others. There are also a wide variety of fungi including: sulphur tuft; wooly milk cap; fly agaric; various types of puffball and birch polypore. Measures are in place to control or remove invasive or non-native species such as bracken, bramble, ragwort and rhododendron, to maintain and improve the variety of habitats.

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