The woodlands at Gravetye are a complex and biodiverse ecosystem… but what does this actually mean?

Woodland biodiversity refers to the variety of plants, fungi, insects, bird life and wild animals that inhabit woods, many of which are considered important or desirable species.

The easiest way to improve habitat for our native inhabitants is to use native woodland tree species as these are more readily colonised by British flora and fauna. However, due to tree pests, diseases and other factors relating to climate change, the forester’s planting pallet is being reduced year on year.

Gravetye is an extraordinary place, and thanks to the foresight of pioneering gardener William Robinson, it is made up of native broadleaved woodland and other exotic (non-native) broadleaved and coniferous species. Our woodland is not lacking in habitat for wildlife and the conifers within our mixed woodland are great at carbon sequestration, locking up large amounts of carbon over a relatively short period compared to native tree species.

William Robinson Gravetye Charity is working to identify the best, climate change-resilient species, offering wildlife habitat and excellent qualities for timber production. By managing woodlands on rotation – thinning, felling and restocking – we help to lock up carbon in sustainable building materials. This in turn helps reduce imports of timber from outside of the UK, creates a diverse and beautiful habitat and, due to the commercial nature of this enterprise, makes it possible for us to conserve our Ancient Semi Natural Woodlands.

We will soon be replanting Bushy Wood near the Yellow Brick Road and we will keep you up to date with our progress over the coming months.

Jamie Kirkman, Forestry Manager, Gravetye Estate