Layers of Fun

At Southwood Woodland our local volunteer group have continued to improve the woodland with a task every 4th Sunday of the month. On our last task we took to planting whips (young trees) and sowing seeds to improve the biodiversity of the woodland understory.

field maple whips

Field Maple whips

Just like a rainforest, woodlands have several layers. Each layer can support a host of different wildlife. By adding more native species to the different layers we can attract a bigger and more diverse amount of wildlife.


Southwood Woodland has a fantastic canopy of veteran Oaks and Downy Birch, among other species. The understory trees just below the tallest layer was added to with planted Field Maple and Hawthorn. Once these whips  have developed they will provide numerous nesting and food opportunities for smaller woodland birds. Whilst planting in the area pictured below we spotted a Treecreeper building nest!

liz whip planting

The volunteers then took to improving the field layer. This is the layer between the ground and the understory trees which can include Bluebells and Ferns. They sowed Red Campion, native Bluebell, Primrose and Lords and Ladies seeds. These wildflowers will supply food and microhabitats for a range of butterflies and other invertebrates. We spotted the Brimstone butterflies getting their first glimpse of sun.

peter whip planting

Thank you to the group for all their hard work. Keep an eye out for the flowers now Spring has arrived!

Our next volunteer task is this Sunday. We will be creating wig wams to protect Hazel stools and protecting a stumpery. All are welcome to meet us at the Old Kennels Lane entrance at 10:30am. If you would like to join us please call Jenny the Ranger on 07703449287.

Jenny Countryside Ranger


About blackwatervalleycountryside

The Blackwater Valley is located on the borders of Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire and runs for approximately 30km from the source near Aldershot, northwards to Swallowfield. At its confluence it joins the rivers Whitewater and Loddon. The Loddon eventually flows into the River Thames near Reading. Work in the Blackwater Valley is co-ordinated by the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership on behalf of the local authorities that border the Valley. Despite being surrounded by urban development the Valley provides an important green corridor for local residents As well as the Blackwater Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a small part of the Basingstoke Canal SSSI, three nature reserves within the Valley catchment and many other areas have been recognised for their ecological importance. The local planning authorities covering the Valley have designated 31 other areas as ‘Wildlife Sites’.
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