Wilkswood (Langton West Wood)
A delightful wooded valley to the west of Swanage
|Site Name||Wilkswood (Langton West Wood)|
|Wilkswood (Langton West Wood)|
Wilkswood (Langton West Wood) -
This wood is known locally as Langton West Wood but as it is signposted Wilkswood and the National Trust sign says Wilkswood that is the name I use. The Ordnance Survey map has no name for the wood.
Whilst Wilkswood is not considered to be ancient woodland it does contains many of the indicator species that one associates with ancient woodland including wood anemone and butchers broom. These are plants that spread very slowly and therefore colonies of them that exist have often been in that location for many, many years. This particular woodland appears on maps that date back before 1800 and the woodland itself is almost certainly much older. A stream runs through the wood which has steep banks on each side which form a wooded valley and that is why it has escaped agricultural improvement, it would be very difficult to farm this area. This also means that the paths are often very muddy and quite steep in places so, sadly, this is a site for the more physically able- bodied only!
The best time for any woodland of this nature is the spring, before the leaf canopy opens. The woodland floor is ablaze with golden lesser celandines, yellow primroses, white wood anemones and green dogs mercury. Birds are then singing as they feed amongst the scrub and early insects, especially hoverflies, abound. There are few better ways to spend a warm spring day than wandering slowly through broad leaf woodland and Wilkswood is certainly one of the best in southern Dorset.
|Phase 1 Habitat Types||Description||No of Species|
Water Margin & Inundation Vegetation
Maritime cliff and slope
|NVC Community||Description||No of Species|
Fraxinus excelsior - Acer campestre - Mercurialis perennis [Ash/Field Maple/Dog's Mercury] woodland
Fraxinus excelsior - Sorbus aucuparia - Mercurialis perennis [Ash/Rowan/Dog's Mercury] woodland
Quercus robur - Pteridium aquilinum - Rubus fruticosus [Pedunculate Oak/Bracken/Bramble] woodland
Alnus - Fraxinus - Lysimachia nemorum [Alder/Ash/Yellow Pimpernel] woodland
Crataegus monogyna - Hedera helix [Hawthorn/Ivy] scrub
Prunus spinosa - Rubus fruticosus [Blackthorn/Bramble] scrub
Fagus sylvatica - Mercurialis perennis [Beech/Dog's mercury] woodland
Rubus fruticosus - Pteridium aquilinum [Bramble/Bracken] underscrub
Arrhenatherum elatius [False Oat-grass] grassland
Quercus - Betula - Deschampsia flexuosa [Oak/Birch/Wavy Hair-grass] woodland