Wicken Wood: General Comments on the Woodland
The woodlands have been neglected over the past years; (25+) and the structure does pose some interesting questions. The younger plantings are around 20 years old in addition some 30-year-old plantations are also present. A considerable amount of oak was planted in the early 50’s with only remnants left of this age group. Mature trees are all but absent from the wood.
It is likely that the wood suffered considerably damage during the storms of 1987 and 1990 and this would have had a serious impact on that early 50’s plantings. Restocking would have then taken place following clearance of the windblow.
However, anecdotal evidence suggests that the woodland was defoliated with the chemical 245T prior to a significant felling of oak which was then use for pit props in the mines in Nottinghamshire. This would explain the distinct lack of mature specimen trees. This aerial application of this quite nasty herbicide would have perhaps coincided with wood during the latter part of WW2 with restocking taking place in the early 50’s. Other evidence suggested this aerial application took place during the 70’s?
There is a great ride network which has been and will be opened up and maintained for many reasons including, management, access, wildlife and biodiversity.
A considerable element of the woodland comprises ash, Fraxinus excelsior and is badly infected with Ash die-back Hymenoscyphus fraxineus. Much of this and other species will be thinned and clear felled in readiness to restock with primarily native mixed broadleaves. These will either be protected from browsing mammals with fences and or individual tree shelters.