Much of the woodland is a mixture of oak and ash often with hazel, hawthorn and other native species forming an understory beneath the canopy of larger trees.
Many deciduous woodlands now exist as small fragments surrounded by open fields. These are often remnants of much larger woodlands and are very important as they can provide stepping-stones to allow species to move across the countryside. Where woodlands occur on the slopes of gulleys or streams, they may have existed there for hundreds of years as it has never been possible to farm these inaccessible areas.
Almost all the remaining woodlands have seen some management by humans. These woodland areas used to be an essential part of every farm as they provided timber for fences, firewood and other uses. In many cases the management was called coppicing – the practice of cutting down the tree but allowing the stump to grow new shoots. This produced a renewable crop of timber and the timber could be cut when it reached the right size for its intended use. Hazel was most often coppiced and coppice stools of hazel can be found in most woodlands around the National Park.
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