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What is ancient woodland?

Ancient woods are areas that have been wooded since at least 1600. This definition applies across the UK and was adopted because before this time planting was less common, so woods that were present in 1600 were more likely to have developed naturally. In some places, ancient woodland may even be the last living link with the Wildwood that covered the land after the last ice age.

In Northern Ireland, the Woodland Trust has also recorded long-established woodland, land that has been continuously wooded since the first comprehensive maps of Ireland were produced in 1830-44, but which cannot be proven ancient.

Ervey Woods. Photo: Steven Kind