I have made first official contact regarding the possibility of changing the use of Hoo and Dark Woods from Unclassified, to Nature Reserve. I have done a little information mining. I have discovered that Dark Wood is considered one of the richest botanical sites in Northern Worcestershire by those that know their botany really well. I’m not sure if this information will make a critical difference to the eventual outcome of my proposal, but it’s far better than being told it’s just a piece of useless waste ground. Allegedly, the invertebrates in both woods are considered pretty spectacular too.
It seems the land was originally scrub. The oldest oak trees are likely to be less than 100 years old, so we are not dealing with ancient woodland here. Even so, the positive influence that Hoo and Dark woods have on Wilden Marsh has convinced me of their value; in fact, considering the implied status of Dark Wood’s botany, I am now more upbeat about this area than I was at the start. Since I am a pragmatist, I’m not bothered about being proved wrong, nor do I fear having to change my perceptions under pressure from reasoned argument. We’ll have to see how the cookie crumbles, as they say!
The standing birch deadwood is short-lived, but it’s being naturally replaced: excellent news for invertebrates. Standing deadwood eventually falls to the ground to continue the rotting process, which again opens up opportunities for inverts. At the moment, though, a significant amount of the fallen deadwood in Hoo Wood is sawn up for firewood. Most of the standing deadwood in Hoo Wood is oak, and in Dark Wood it’s birch.