Management of Sable Wood

The October storm of 1987 brought down many trees in Sable Wood, particularly on the western side. The photograph, kindly supplied by local resident Bill May, shows the immediate aftermath of the storm.

No managed replanting seems to have occurred after 1987 and young birch, Scots Pine and holly have sprung up, steadily reducing the amount of light reaching the woodland floor. Apart from some bilberry and moss, few plants grow there. As a consequence, without food and habitat to sustain them, there are relatively few insects.

The large Scots pine in the wood are testament to its recent history as commercial forestry. Invasive species, particularly rhododendron ponticum and gaultheria shallon, also known as shalal, have gained ground.

In addition to the removal of species that are over-abundant, Sable Wood needs an improved vertical structure that provides a range of habitats at ground and intermediate levels. Often this can be achieved simply by giving sufficient light and space to existing shrubs and trees. But to achieve a greater network of corridors for wildlife, hedges of mixed native species will be planted at various places in the wood.