Ancient Woodland in England: Historical Perspectives on a 'Natural' Habitat

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Ancient woodland in England is commonly perceived as a largely natural resource which is under threat. In reality, ancient woods represent highly unnatural systems which have undergone rapid change over the last century or so: they were factories for the production of wood and timber which have now become redundant and derelict. This chapter explores some of the implications of this perspective, especially with regard to the assumed superiority of ‘ancient’ woods over recent ones, the question of how ancient woods are currently developing, and issues of ‘rewilding.’ Ancient woods are revered, almost sacrosanct spaces but examined from an historical perspective their ‘natural’ character, and the ‘threats’ they face, are perhaps more complex than natural scientists sometimes assume.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWoodlands
Subtitle of host publicationEcology, Management and Threats
EditorsIan D. Rotherham
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9798891133075
ISBN (Print)9798891132481
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2024


  • Ancient woodland
  • Management
  • Perspectives
  • Primary woodland
  • Rewilding
  • Timber production

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