Ancient semi-natural woodland
Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland is species rich broadleaf woodland and is the earliest surviving woodland in Buckinghamshire. The distribution of ancient semi natural woodland in Buckinghamshire is heavily biased towards the south of the county, on the Chilterns and the Burnham plateau. In the north local concentrations of woodland are found on the former medieval hunting forests of Bernwood, Salcey, Whittlewood and Whaddon but elsewhere there are only a few isolated examples. Generally the extent and form of these woodlands have remained unchanged for hundreds of years, their size and shape maintained by wood banks and boundaries. However, there has also been woodland regeneration that has enlarged the extent of woodland in some areas.
The category has been derived from the English Nature classification that defines ancient woodland as being continuously wooded for at least 400 years. It has been used within the Historic Landscape Characterisation survey to define areas where ancient woodland still survive today. Although for the purposes of this survey, the earliest map evidence used was the Thomas Jeffreys map of the 18th century, the consideration of the woodland morphology, extent, and place names was used to further estimate whether the woodland is ancient or not.
Ancient Semi Natural woodland has high potential for well preserved archaeological remains of woodland management and industries including wood banks, charcoal hearths, saw pits, quarries and small settlements. There is also evidence for historic woodland management, in the form of pollarded and coppiced trees.