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Chiltern woodland

Formerly Pitlands wood, GreenAcres Chiltern is 30 hectares (72 acres), split into many compartments each with differing origins. There is broadleaf high forest, coppice woodland, planted fields and former arable land. Areas of the wood have been classified as Planted Ancient Woodland Site (PAWS) with a discrete area known as Duck Wood regarded as Ancient Semi Natural Woodland (Sanderson 2005). The soil structures vary considerably from strongly acidic poorly draining soils through mildly acidic better draining soils. Locally there are disturbed and formerly cultivated soils that are base rich.

The majority of the northern half of the wood is dominated by Douglas Fir, Grand Fir and Norway Spruce with pockets of Scots Pine. To the south European Larch predominates with pockets of Beech and Oak. Scattered through these coniferous areas are single stands of Oak, Beech and Silver Birch. Sections of the wood to the northwest are dominated by broadleaf species including Oak, Beech, Hornbeam and Silver Birch.

Reports completed by Neil Sanderson (2006) and Essex Ecology Services Ltd (EECOS) (2005) identified the ground flora to be undoubtedly rich with the assemblage of Ancient Woodland Vascular Plants ‘very respectable’, despite being heavily shaded by conifers.

The woodland of the parks is treated with the upmost respect and the woodland teams actively encourage the landscape to naturally flourish and develop. The parks are a haven of wild life and plant growth and the spread of biodiversity is also encouraged.