Wood-pasture and Parkland

Wood-pasture and parklands were created by historic land management involving grazing. They consist of a mosaic of habitats including veteran trees, grazed grassland, heathland and/or woodland plants.

Lowland Wood-pasture and Parkland

Photo: Laurie Jackson

Why is it important?

  • The mosaic of habitats and dead-wood make wood-pasture and parkland hugely important for invertebrates, lichens and fungi.
  • Parklands are more common in the UK than anywhere else in Europe, and many are of an ancient origin.
  • Veteran trees provide holes and crevices used by bats and birds.
  • Sussex has the majority of the UK’s mature English Elms following the loss of millions to Dutch Elm Disease.

Wood-pasture and Parkland in Sussex

Sussex is rich in wood-pasture and parkland with several large old deer parks.

What are the threats?

  • Isolation and fragmentation of the remaining parklands.
  • Inappropriate grazing resulting loss of plant diversity and habitat structure.
  • Agricultural intensification including reseeding, ploughing and use of fertilisers.
  • Neglect and loss of veteran trees, and over tidying of deadwood.

Some associated species

*Serotine Eptesicus serotinus

  • Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Picoides minor
  • Stag Beetle Lucanus cervus
  • Common Woodlouse Oniscus asellus
  • Pedunculate Oak Quercus robur
  • Stinking Hellebore Helleborus foetidus

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (female)

Photo: Paul Marten/Sussex Wildlife Trust

Advice on wood-pasture and parkland

After Minerals
Ancient Tree Hunt
English Heritage
Forestry Commission

Sussex Targets

Biodiversity Action Reporting System Website

Download the Wood-pasture and Parkland Habitat Action Plan