“Littleworth Wood” is a quiet 30 acre wood on the opposite side of a valley from Snowshill. Once it was partially quarried but when that stopped it was planted up with native trees and grew into the wood we know today.
There was a small amount of car parking but that is no longer available so those that want to visit the wood have to walk, this remoteness has kept the air of tranquillity found here.
Over the winter Volunteers have been busy cutting back the Hazel understory, a practise undertaken here for many years and known as “Coppicing”. This infrequent action allows periods of sunlight to smother the woodland floor and perpetuate the existence of some of the rarer plants found here. Another task for the Volunteers is to erect small fences around the cut hazel “Stools”. If this was not done the newly emerging shoots would be nibbled off by the resident Rowe and Muntjak Deer found in the Wood.
The stakes and poles produced from all this cutting have been used in a local Hedge Laying Competition and the smaller parts used to make “Faggots” used by the Wildlife Trust in riverbank restoration.
Some of the heavier work undertaken in the Wood was to remove a few of the taller Ash trees along the edge of the central track or “Ride”. The reason for this is again to allow more sunlight to flood in but also to provide a sunlit link between one end of the Wood and the other.
It is hoped that this action will allow the Sliver Washed Fritillary Butterfly to move through the Wood and increase in numbers. This butterfly was once common throughout actively managed woodland but numbers have dropped as active management has faded away.
To understand if these actions are having the desired effect, a local Volunteer “Jean”, in conjunction with Butterfly Conservation will establish a series of specific walks “Transects” to monitor the butterflies seasonally for many years to come.
If you take a walk now, all the Spring flowers are coming out, making the most of the sunshine before the leaves on the trees come out. See how many you can find in the knowledge that this quiet wood was, in the winter, really quite busy.