Derrygorry, Co. Monaghan & Favour Royal, Co. Tyrone; Ecological Report

Ecological Assessment of Plans for Favour Royal, Co. Tyrone, and Derrygorry, Co. Monaghan

Report by: S.A. Wolfe-Murphy

WM Associates
Environmental Consultants
35 Rossmore Avenue
Ormeau Road
Belfast BT7 3 HB

Date: 31/08/2000

Ecological Assessment of Plans for Favour Royal, Co. Tyrone, and Derrygorry, Co. Monaghan


Favour Royal Demesne 7
Derrygorry 13
Acknowledgements 35
References 35


The Millennium Forests Project is an all-Ireland initiative to restore and extend existing native woodlands, and to create new woodlands based upon appropriate native species. The project is intended to stimulate public interest in native woodland development and protection in Ireland.

The Favour Royal and Derrygorry woods are 2 of 16 sites that have been selected for enhancement.

This study aims to:

· Provide an ecological background to the project at Favour Royal/Derrygorry.

· Assess the proposed planting area in the context of relevant nature conservation legislation.

· Provide management advice outlining the options to best enhance the natural history and biodiversity interest of the site.

Fieldwork was conducted 21,22 and 24/08/2000. This imposes constraints upon the survey as it is outside the optimum field season for woodlands, for example, Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) was evident only as dead flower stalks, but some of the stricter vernal geophytes amongst the ground flora may have been underestimated or missed completely.


The proposals relate to two forestry blocks very close to each other but separated by the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Thus the Forestry Service manage Favour Royal, the northern block and Coillte manage Derrygorry, the southern block.

The main planted species is Norway spruce (Picea abies) in both forests and have been subject to normal forestry practise, so broad-leaved tree species are scarce in both blocks, especially Favour Royal, although there is one small area of mature Oak inter-planted with Beech and Douglas fir occupying the hill-top area of Derrygorry. Harvesting has commenced in both forests and what broad-leaved species there were in the cover have not been retained.

The ecological value of the coniferous plantation is low. Although the light climate is generally adequate to allow a ground layer (although in places bare soil/needle litter was noted), the ground flora is species-poor, mainly dominated by two mosses Thuidium tamariscinum and Eurhynchium striatum. The value for fauna is also likely to be low.

The felled areas are beginning to regain botanical interest, the level and gently sloping areas in Derrygorry recruiting Creeping bent (Agrostis stolonifera) and on the sloping areas here and at Favour Royal, Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) which is a minor component of the forestry ground flora begins to form the basis of a grassland. Bramble (Rubus agg.) expanding in both situations. Derrygorry in particular has a few plant species such as Pale sedge (Carex pallescens) that suggest that left unplanted, and managed by extensive grazing the site may eventually develop into an interesting habitat, however this habitat type can be included in a re-planting plan, and re-planting with broad-leaved trees is strongly recommended as an option.

Advice is provided on planting in order to create a cover similar to that of W11 Quercus petraea-Betula pubescens-Oxalis acetosella woodland. The planting of non-native trees is discouraged although given the mixed woodland estate setting, it is not entirely inappropriate, however, the only conifer on the list of approved species is Scot's pine.

Survey and reporting protocol:

The areas were surveyed by zigzag walks across the site. Where vegetation quadrats were recorded, these describe the cover of plants within a (usually) 1 x 1m area of vegetation. The 'DOMIN' % cover class is used, as follows:

Domin % cover class

+ = a few individuals 6 = 25-33%
1 = 1-2% 7 = 33-50%
2 = <2% 8 = 50-75%
3 = 2-5% 9 = 75-90%
4 = 5-10% 10 = 90-100%
5 = 10-25%

In describing the status of plant species in a larger area, the qualitative DAFOR scale is sometimes used, where:

D = Dominant
A = Abundant
F = Frequent
O = Occasional
R = Rare

L = Local - to describe patchy distribution within an area.
V = 'very' ( as a prefix)

Where trees have been measured, their diameter at breast height (dbh) is given in cm.

Introduction to site and proposed plans:

The sites are both primarily coniferous plantations in estate parkland in the Clogher valley. The international border runs between the two sites along a small tributary of the River Blackwater. Derrygorry wood lies adjacent to this stream and The proposed planting are in Favour Royal, some 250 m north of the stream shortly before its confluence with the Blackwater.

The River Blackwater is well-known as having been subject to the last major environmentally insensitive arterial drainage scheme in Northern Ireland. The lower edge of the Derrygorry plantation may have been wetter before the scheme.

The terrain is an undulating drumlin-scape. Underlying geology is of Viséan red sandstone but as an isolated block in calp limestone and shales. Thus soils are derived from a mixed till of limestone and sandstone, patchy in base content. The root balls of wind-thrown trees comprise grey gleyed clays, water often collecting in the depression below the lifted roots, confirming the SW2 gley of Cruickshank (1977).

A factor that may have a bearing on the type of replanting over harvested coniferous forestry in the area, is a current proposal by Termon Developments for a golf course that extends across the Townlands of Favour Royal Demesne, Derrygorry and the adjacent Creaghan, along with associated accommodation on the Favour Royal side. Thus the amenity and visual importance of the replanting may be elevated. This proposal is still in the planning stage and causing some local controversy.

A large Fallow deer herd range across the estate including both proposed planting sites, see photo 1.13 of one unfortunate that entangled its antlers in fencing around the Favour Royal area. Note that the fencing includes 'chicken wire' which may be an indication of management for pheasant.

Favour Royal is a part of Mullaghfad Forest which comes under East Fermanagh region. The plans for Favour Royal once felled, as far as is known, are to replant with Norway spruce (Picea abies), and Oak (Quercus sp.) with, in places, Scot's pine (Pinus sylvestris), Beech (Fagus sylvatica) and Ash (Fraxinus excelsior).

Plans for Derrygorry have not been forwarded except that the central broadleaf area is to be retained.

Ecological survey of site:

Favour Royal Demesne

Area 1.1

This compartment comprises a single block of even-aged conifers occupying the northern flanks of an esker with an east west axis. It was being cut in a swathe across the eastern side on the day of survey. Cutting of the rest of the stand appeared imminent with the remainder of the trees on the eastern side prepared for harvesting (buttresses trimmed).

There is a fringing of broad-leaved trees along the lower northern edge, adjacent to an improved grassland to the west and a green track along the north (photo 1.1), comprising:

Hazel (Corylus avellana) FLA
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) F
Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) O
Downy birch (Betula pubescens) R
Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) R
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) O
Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) OLF
Rusty willow (Salix cinerea ssp oleifolia) R
Intermediate oak (Quercus x rosacea) R planted?
Beech (Fagus sylvatica) LO seedlings/saplings

Nipplewort (Lapsana communis)
Sanicle (Sanicula europaea)
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella)
a moss (Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus)
a moss (Climacium dendroides)
a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum)
a moss (Plagiomnium undulatum)
Common dog-violet (Viola riviniana)
Common bent (Agrostis capillaris)
Wood dock (Rumex sanguineus)
Meadow buttercup (Ranunculus acris)
Bush vetch (Vicia sepium)

The stand comprises Norway spruce (Picea abies) mainly within the range 20-35 cm dbh, possibly with a few Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis). Past management has been for standard commercial production.

Broad-leaved generation within the forestry has been very limited. Holly (Ilex aquifolium) seedlings are not uncommon, but do not mature. Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) whips are rare.

Young Beech (Fagus sylvatica), Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) and Hazel (Corylus avellana) are associated with the internal boundary, a typical estate earth bank and ditch, but none exceed 17 cm dbh.

As expected, the ground flora is not well-developed. Five quadrats were recorded in the areas depicted in photo 1.2:

Species table:
spp. quadrat tot.
1 2 3 4 5

bare soil % 60 60 40 <10 <10
total bryophytes % 40 30 60 20 20
Broad buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata) 4 3 7 7 V
a moss (Eurhynchium praelongum) 4 3 5 4 4 V
a moss (Mnium hornum) 5 5 3 4 IV
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) 2 7 7 8 IV
Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) 3 6? 6? 3 V
Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) 4 3 3 III
Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) 1 2 1 III
Bramble (Rubus agg.) 1 4 4 III
a moss (Eurhynchium striatum) 7 2 2 III
a moss (Pseudoscleropodium purum) 3 5 1 III
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) seedling 2 1 II
Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus) 3 5 II
Male-fern (Dryopteris filix-mas) 4 4 II
a moss (Plagiomnium undulatum) 1 1 II
Sweet vernal-grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum) 1 I
Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) 1 I
Beech (Fagus sylvatica) seedling 1 I
Common dog-violet (Viola riviniana) 1 I
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) seedling 2 I
a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) 5 I
Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) 1 I
Remote sedge (Carex remota) 2 I

Although it is difficult to tell because of the time of year, this set of quadrats recorded in the western part of the compartment, may overestimate the status of Bluebell in this forest.

Additional species:
a moss (Dicranella heteromalla) VLF
a moss (Hookeria lucens) LF
Pendulous sedge (Carex pendula) O
Wood-sedge (Carex sylvatica) O
Primrose (Primula vulgaris) O
Heath bedstraw (Galium saxatile) LO
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant) LO
a moss (Hypnum cupressiforme) F tree bases/thinned stumps
Wood speedwell (Veronica montana) R
a moss (Polytrichum commune) LF
Yellow pimpernel (Lysimachia nemorum) R
Hedge woundwort (Stachys sylvatica) VR
Wild angelica (Angelica sylvestris) R
Common nettle (Urtica dioica) VR near track by felled area
a moss (Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus) LO
Barren strawberry (Potentilla sterilis) LO

Towards the upslope boundary the density of trees lessens and the cover of Bramble increases significantly (see photo 1.3). At the edge, Pedunculate oak (Quercus robur) and Goat willow (Salix caprea) are occasional (see photo 1.4).

Species table:
spp. quadrat
1 2 3

Bramble (Rubus agg.) 8 8 7
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) 8 8 6
Broad buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata) 3 1 6
a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) 9 5 8
Hairy wood-rush (Luzula pilosa) 4
a moss (Hylocomium brevirostre) 3 3
Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) 5 6 3
a moss (Pseudoscleropodium purum) 3
a moss (Eurhynchium praelongum) 4
Pendulous sedge (Carex pendula) 4
Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) seedling 1
Heath speedwell (Veronica officinalis) 4
Wood horsetail (Equisetum sylvaticum) 1
Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus) 5
Heath bedstraw (Galium saxatile) 2
Herb-robert (Geranium robertianum) 1
Common dog-violet (Viola riviniana) 1

In the centre of the stand, some of the smaller thinned trees are not removed. The stand is still more dense, ditched at around 30°. Whilst the stand gets more dense, the ground flora becomes very much more sparse.

spp. quadrat tot.
1 2 3 4 5

Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) 8 3 3 6 IV
a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) 6 3 5 6 IV
Broad buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata) 4 3 1 III
a moss (Mnium hornum) 4 4 II
a moss (Polytrichum formosum) 4 I

Large patches of needle litter are ± devoid of vegetation (eg. see photo 1.5).

The same ground flora extended across the area that was being felled on the survey day (see photos .

Area 1.2

When the forestry above the Millennium Woodland site was harvested, the upper edge seems to have been thinned, but at Area 1.2, locally the stand was ± felled almost down to the embankment boundary below, although a few isolated Spruce remain with dbh to 55 cm (see photos 1.9 and 1.10). The ditch alongside the this boundary embankment is damp, but usually shaded below fallen Spruce and Brambles. Ditch records:

Remote sedge (Carex remota) A
Wavy bitter-cress (Cardamine flexuosa) O
Square-stalked St John's-wort (Hypericum tetrapterum) O
Marsh bedstraw (Galium palustre) LF
Opposite-leaved g'-saxifrage (Chrysosplenium oppositifolium) LF
Giant fescue (Festuca gigantea) O
Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens) LF
Short-fruited willowherb (Epilobium obscurum) R

Access around the felled area is difficult due to the terrain and the rank vegetation:

Species table:
spp. quadrat tot.
1 2 3 4 5

Bramble (Rubus agg.) 6 9 9 8 8 V
Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) 7 8 6 6 6 V
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) 4 3 3 4 IV
Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus) 6 4 3 5 IV
Rosebay willowherb (Chamerion angustifolium) 3 4 6 6 IV
Broad buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata) 2 1 4 III
Sweet vernal-grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum) 3 4 2 III
Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) 8 4 II
Trailing tormentil (Potentilla anglica) 3 3 II
Tufted hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa) 3 1 II
Lady-fern (Athyrium filix-femina) 5 I
Bugle (Ajuga reptans) 4 I
Pendulous sedge (Carex pendula) 3 I
Remote sedge (Carex remota) 3 I
Bog stitchwort (Stellaria uliginosa) 2 I
Sharp-flowered rush (Juncus acutiflorus) 3 I
Marsh thistle (Cirsium palustre) 1 I
Compact rush (Juncus conglomeratus) 3 I
Male-fern (Dryopteris filix-mas) 4 I
Herb-robert (Geranium robertianum) 3 I
Raspberry (Rubus idaeus) 3 I

Area 1.3

Previously cleared of plantation trees and subsequently replanted with second rotation Norway spruce (Picea abies), now well-established. It was not studied in detail, but is notably densely crowded with Downy birch (Betula pubescens) that are unlikely to have been deliberately planted (see photo 1.11).

Area 1.4

Ditched and previously cleared of plantation trees. Small conifers (<1m tall) probably Norway spruce (Picea abies) are sporadic and it is not clear is a replanting programme has failed here. Bramble (Rubus agg.) is increasingly dense towards the east where the new plantation has been established. The sward otherwise is mainly Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) dominated, this can be seen above the forest in photo 1.4:

Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) A
Sweet vernal-grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum) F
Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus) F
Bramble (Rubus agg.) A
Compact rush (Juncus conglomeratus) OLF
Rosebay willowherb (Chamerion angustifolium) F hardly patchy
Ivy (Hedera helix) LO
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) LO
Brown sedge (Carex disticha) R
Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) LF
Broad buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata) O
Lady-fern (Athyrium filix-femina) O
Heath rush (Juncus squarrosus) VR
Scaly male-fern (Dryopteris affinis) R
Common sorrel (Rumex acetosa) R
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) R
Tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum) R
Hart's-tongue (Phyllitis scolopendrium) R
Reed canary-grass (Phalaris arundinacea) VLF
Slender St John's-wort (Hypericum pulchrum) R
Cock's-foot (Dactylis glomerata) R
False brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum) R
Male-fern (Dryopteris filix-mas) R

Area 1.5

A small, track side extension of the site, presumably added to the compartment to include the trackside trees. These are mainly Beech (Fagus sylvatica) to 40 cm dbh with a single over-mature specimen. These grow with Hazel (Corylus avellana), Downy birch (Betula pubescens) and Eared willow (Salix aurita) and sapling Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) along a raised trackside embankment boundary, which is primarily mossy:

a moss (Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus) A
Tufted hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa) F
False brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum) F
Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) LF
Ivy (Hedera helix) LF
a moss (Dicranum scoparium) LF
a liverwort (Plagiochila porelloides) VLF
a moss (Polytrichum formosum) LF
a moss (Hylocomium brevirostre) LF
Remote sedge (Carex remota) LF
Wood-sedge (Carex sylvatica)
Bramble (Rubus agg.)
Sweet vernal-grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum)
Hairy wood-rush (Luzula pilosa)
Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum)
Herb-robert (Geranium robertianum)
Glaucous sedge (Carex flacca) trackside
Tormentil (Potentilla erecta) trackside
Hairy brome (Bromopsis ramosa) trackside
Wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca) trackside
Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris) trackside
Meadow vetchling (Lathyrus pratensis) trackside
Germander speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys) trackside
Pendulous sedge (Carex pendula)

Photo 1.12 shows this rank of trees - the dark are behind them is the coniferous plantation of Lattone wood, the other side of the adjacent forestry track.


Area 2.1

Between the Blackwater tributary and the main track through the centre of the site, the forestry had been cleared before the survey was undertaken (see photos 2.1 of the southern end and 2.2 of the main area taken from the old estate embankment). The Coillte compartments 210p 4 and 5 followed the river side, suggesting that the tree cover was formerly different here than in the rest of survey Area 2.1.

The main area was under Norway spruce (Picea abies). There were a few broad-leaved species in the cover as saplings or young trees, but very few have been retained during felling - perhaps 6 young Pedunculate oak (Quercus robur), 2 Sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa), and a scattering of young Downy birch (Betula pubescens), the remainder were included in the felling operation. Scattered groups of Alder (Alnus glutinosa) to 24 cm dbh, have been felled and are regenerating as coppice, (photo 2.5) likewise Hazel (Corylus avellana), and Goat willow (Salix caprea) to 12 cm dbh, only more sparse. Species regenerating from seed:

Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) VLO
Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) O
Willow (Salix sp.) O
Alder (Alnus glutinosa) R
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) O
Aspen (Populus tremula) VLF by mature trees
Pedunculate oak (Quercus robur) R

There are a few vestiges of the former woodland ground flora dominated by a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) and Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella), but the majority is under spreading Creeping bent (Agrostis stolonifera) with Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) patches, establishing Bramble (Rubus agg.) cover, and colonising weed species (photo 2.3 is of typical cover here).

Creeping bent (Agrostis stolonifera) A
Remote sedge (Carex remota) F
Wood-sedge (Carex sylvatica) F
Bramble (Rubus agg.) FLA
a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) LF
Common nettle (Urtica dioica) LF
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) LF
Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) VLF
a moss (Pseudoscleropodium purum) VLF
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant) O-F
Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) O-F
Lady-fern (Athyrium filix-femina) O
Wavy bitter-cress (Cardamine flexuosa) O
Herb-robert (Geranium robertianum) O
Short-fruited willowherb (Epilobium obscurum) O
Toad rush (Juncus bufonius) O
Rosebay willowherb (Chamerion angustifolium) O
Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens) O
Bulbous rush (Juncus bulbosus) O even on dry areas
Meadow buttercup (Ranunculus acris) O
Broad buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata) O
Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus) O
Square-stalked St John's-wort (Hypericum tetrapterum) O
Common ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) O
Male-fern (Dryopteris filix-mas) O
Compact rush (Juncus conglomeratus) O
a moss (Hylocomium brevirostre) O
Enchanter's nightshade (Circaea lutetiana) LO
Ivy (Hedera helix) LO
Pale sedge (Carex pallescens) LO
Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) LO
Heath groundsel (Senecio sylvaticus) R
Heath speedwell (Veronica officinalis) R
Great wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica) R
Common dog-violet (Viola riviniana) R
Wild angelica (Angelica sylvestris) R
Wood horsetail (Equisetum sylvaticum) R
Smooth sow-thistle (Sonchus oleraceus) R
Germander speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys) R
Spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare) R
Yellow pimpernel (Lysimachia nemorum) R
Prickly sow-thistle (Sonchus asper) R
Nipplewort (Lapsana communis) R
Marsh ragwort (Senecio aquaticus) R
Common figwort (Scrophularia nodosa) R
Pale persicaria (Persicaria lapathifolia) R
Marsh thistle (Cirsium palustre) R
Lesser spearwort (Ranunculus flammula) R
Tufted hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa) R
Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) R
a moss (Atrichum undulatum) R
Heath wood-rush (Luzula multiflora) R
Star sedge (Carex echinata) R
Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris) R
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) R
Cock's-foot (Dactylis glomerata) R
Common mouse-ear (Cerastium fontanum) R
Common sorrel (Rumex acetosa) R
Bugle (Ajuga reptans) VLF drain
Broad-leaved dock (Rumex obtusifolius) R
Wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca) R
Wood dock (Rumex sanguineus) R
Fat-hen (Chenopodium album) R
Jointed rush (Juncus articulatus) R
Trailing tormentil (Potentilla anglica) R
Tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum) LR between Areas 1 and 2
Hoary willowherb (Epilobium parviflorum) R
Hairy wood-rush (Luzula pilosa) R

Five quadrats were recorded in typical vegetation, 1-3 west of the boundary across, and 4-5 to the east, the larger section which appears to have been harvested more recently having less Creeping bent (Agrostis stolonifera) and a better cover of the former ground flora species:

Species table:
spp. quadrat tot.
1 2 3 4 5

bare soil % 40 10
Creeping bent (Agrostis stolonifera) 8 6 3 8 2 V
Bramble (Rubus agg.) 3 5 3 3 8 V
Wavy bitter-cress (Cardamine flexuosa) 2 3 4 1 2 V
a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) 3 2 2 2 4 V
Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) 2 3 2 2 2 V
Wood-sedge (Carex sylvatica) 4 1 2 6 IV
Remote sedge (Carex remota) 2 2 3 1 IV
Short-fruited willowherb (Epilobium obscurum) 3 3 2 III
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant) 1 2 1 III
Toad rush (Juncus bufonius) 4 1 2 III
Lady-fern (Athyrium filix-femina) 3 4 3 III
Ivy (Hedera helix) 1 1 II
Heath speedwell (Veronica officinalis) 1 1 II
Broad buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata) 5 3 II
Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens) 4 3 II
a moss (Plagiomnium undulatum) 1 1 II
Bulbous rush (Juncus bulbosus) 6 1 II
Yellow pimpernel (Lysimachia nemorum) 1 3 II
Great wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica) 5 1 II
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) 4 4 II
Sharp-flowered rush (Juncus acutiflorus) 1 I
Prickly sow-thistle (Sonchus asper) 1 I
a moss (Eurhynchium praelongum) 1 I
Common dog-violet (Viola riviniana) 1 I
Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) 1 I
Compact rush (Juncus conglomeratus) 2 I
Opposite-leaved g'-saxifrage (Chrysosplenium oppositifolium) 2 I
Glaucous sedge (Carex flacca) 3 I
a liverwort (Lophocolea bidentata) 1 I
Bristle club-rush (Isolepis setacea) 2 I
Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) 1 I
a moss (Mnium hornum) 2 I
Male-fern (Dryopteris filix-mas) 3 I
Spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare) 1 I
Raspberry (Rubus idaeus) 4 I
Herb-robert (Geranium robertianum) 1 I
Star sedge (Carex echinata) 1 I

The felled sections to the south-east of the track have been harvested more recently still, and retain more characteristics of plantation ground flora. Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella), Great wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica) and dying swathes of the moss Thuidium tamariscinum are common. Creeping bent (Agrostis stolonifera) is very local and possibly spreading, although Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) is more frequent and may remain so in this better drained section. Pendulous sedge (Carex pendula) and Wood-sedge (Carex sylvatica) are both thriving. The only new species recorded here: Wood horsetail (Equisetum sylvaticum) and Devil's-bit scabious (Succisa pratensis).

The following are typical of the recent invasive species:

Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) LF
Common ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) O
Bulbous rush (Juncus bulbosus) LF
Toad rush (Juncus bufonius) LF
Wavy bitter-cress (Cardamine flexuosa) O
Marsh ragwort (Senecio aquaticus) R

Sessile oak seedlings, whilst rare, are growing well. Birch seedlings (more recently recruited?), are only locally frequent.

At the other side of the survey Area 2.1, along the stream-side, brashings suggest a former cover, although somewhat patchy, of Oak. Almost all trees have been felled and saplings cleared up to the stream-side (see photo 2.4. A few mature Aspen (Populus tremula) remain, and there is a scattered scrub of Hazel (Corylus avellana), Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus), and Alder (Alnus glutinosa).

Stream-side ground flora species include:
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)
Male-fern (Dryopteris filix-mas)
Pignut (Conopodium majus)
a moss Thamnobryum alopecurum
Wood avens (Geum urbanum)
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella)
Northern hawk's-beard (Crepis paludosa) LO
Cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris)
Hedge woundwort (Stachys sylvatica)
Raspberry (Rubus idaeus)

Photo 2.2 was taken from the old boundary across the western side of the site, a typical embankment from which were recorded:

a moss (Hypnum cupressiforme)
a moss (Dicranum scoparium)
a moss (Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus)
a moss (Pseudoscleropodium purum)
Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) LF

Area 2.2

At the time of survey this was un-felled mature Norway spruce (Picea abies) plantation, but almost certainly to be felled in the short-term. Apart from these, there are almost no mature trees in the area and the young trees tend to be spindly. Broad-leaved species are scarce:

Species Mature (max dbh) young sapling seedling

Norway spruce (Picea abies) D VLF
Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) VR 29 RLO O O
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) O
Pedunculate oak (Quercus robur) 9 O
Hazel (Corylus avellana) 6 R LF
Downy birch (Betula pubescens) LF O
Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) 4 R
Alder (Alnus glutinosa) 13 R
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) 6 R R
Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) R
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) R R
Beech (Fagus sylvatica) R

Photo 2.6 is a general shot of the area and 2.7 shows a small group of Pedunculate oak (Quercus robur), Downy birch (Betula pubescens) and Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) saplings, These are not common, however, broad-leaved species dominate the road-side trees and shrubs:

Rusty willow (Salix cinerea ssp oleifolia) F
Goat willow (Salix caprea) O
Beech (Fagus sylvatica) O
Guelder-rose (Viburnum opulus) R
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) R
Hazel (Corylus avellana) F-A
Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) O
Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) O-F
Downy birch (Betula pubescens) R
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) R

The ground flora includes patches of Bulbous rush (Juncus bulbosus) and Sharp-flowered rush (Juncus acutiflorus) with Remote sedge (Carex remota) Wood-sedge (Carex sylvatica) and Broad buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata) in small damper patches, but generally a dense carpet of bryophytes with sparse higher plant cover:

Species table:
spp. quadrat tot.
1 2 3 4 5

a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) 8 8 9 8 9 V
a moss (Eurhynchium striatum) 4 7 4 6 7 V
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) 7 3 8 7 3 V
a liverwort (Lophocolea bidentata) 4 4 4 3 IV
a moss (Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus) 3 3 3 5 IV
a moss (Pseudoscleropodium purum) 2 2 4 5 IV
Wood-sedge (Carex sylvatica) 4 4 3 2 IV
Bramble (Rubus agg.) 3 3 3 III
Ivy (Hedera helix) 3 3 5 III
a moss (Hypnum cupressiforme) 1 1 II
Remote sedge (Carex remota) 3 3 II
a moss (Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus) 3 6 II
Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) 3 I
a moss (Dicranum scoparium) 5 I
a moss (Mnium hornum) 5 I

The Eurhynchium striatum associated with sparse Eurhynchium praelongum and Calliergon cuspidatum, both of which were only noticed in samples.

Additional species:
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) F
Hairy wood-rush (Luzula pilosa) LF
Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) LF
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant) LF
Sharp-flowered rush (Juncus acutiflorus) LF
Bulbous rush (Juncus bulbosus) LF
Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) LF towards the road
Tufted hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa) LO
Slender St John's-wort (Hypericum pulchrum) LO
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) O
Broad buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata) O
Common dog-violet (Viola riviniana) O
Herb-robert (Geranium robertianum) O
Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) OLF
Germander speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys) R
Sweet vernal-grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum) R
Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus) R
Marsh bedstraw (Galium palustre) R
Rosebay willowherb (Chamerion angustifolium) R
Short-fruited willowherb (Epilobium obscurum) R
Yellow pimpernel (Lysimachia nemorum) R
Square-stalked St John's-wort (Hypericum tetrapterum) R
a moss (Plagiothecium undulatum) R
Raspberry (Rubus idaeus) RLF
Great wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica) RLF
Scaly male-fern (Dryopteris affinis) R-O
Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) VLA towards the road
Wood horsetail (Equisetum sylvaticum) VLF at trackside
Heath wood-rush (Luzula multiflora)
Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum)
Spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare)
Barren strawberry (Potentilla sterilis)
Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris)
Tormentil (Potentilla erecta)
a moss (Hylocomium brevirostre)
a moss (Fissidens bryoides)

In the south of Area 2.1, by the looping forestry track, there seems to be more frequent windthrow, at least one with Creeping bent (Agrostis stolonifera), Common bent (Agrostis capillaris), Soft-rush (Juncus effusus), Sweet vernal-grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum) and Bulbous rush (Juncus bulbosus), similar to some of the harvested areas.

Area 2.3

Very similar to the Norway spruce (Picea abies) plantation of Area 2 (see photo 2.8), this section rises from the forestry track to join the broad-leaved hill top cover of area 4. Before the hill top transition the broad-leaved tree mix and status remains similar to Area 2.2. The Spruce are more dense and the light climate poor. The ground flora is overwhelmingly dominated by a bryophyte carpet similar to that of Area 2.2 (see photo 2.9):

Species table:
spp. quadrat
1 2 3

a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) 9 9 10
a moss (Eurhynchium striatum) 6 2 5
a moss (Plagiomnium undulatum) 1 2 3
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) 7 6 7
Wood-sedge (Carex sylvatica) 2 1 1
Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) seedling 1 1
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) seedling 1
Ivy (Hedera helix) 2 1
a liverwort (Plagiochila porelloides) 4
a moss (Pseudoscleropodium purum) 3
a moss (Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus) 2 1
Scaly male-fern (Dryopteris affinis) 1

Very locally base-rich areas with Wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa), a moss (Atrichum undulatum), a liverwort Pellia endiviifolia and Primrose (Primula vulgaris).

Other species:
Wood horsetail (Equisetum sylvaticum) R
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant) O-F
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) O-F
Bramble (Rubus agg.) LO
Tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum) R
Broad buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata) O
Slender St John's-wort (Hypericum pulchrum) O
Common dog-violet (Viola riviniana) R
Great wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica) OLF
Floating sweet-grass (Glyceria fluitans) R
Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) VLF increases to S
Pendulous sedge (Carex pendula) R
a moss (Polytrichum formosum) R
Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) R
Remote sedge (Carex remota) R
Herb-robert (Geranium robertianum) R
Germander speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys) R
Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) LO
Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) VLF
Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus)
Tufted hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa)
Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens)

2.3i An unusual windthrow area at the site edge. Damp and rather open:

Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus) A
Tufted hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa) A
Remote sedge (Carex remota) A
Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens) F
Bramble (Rubus agg.) LA
Marsh ragwort (Senecio aquaticus) O
Bush vetch (Vicia sepium) O
Herb-robert (Geranium robertianum) O
Square-stalked St John's-wort (Hypericum tetrapterum) R
Creeping bent (Agrostis stolonifera) LA
Hairy brome (Bromopsis ramosa) O
Wild angelica (Angelica sylvestris) O
Marsh bedstraw (Galium palustre)
Yellow pimpernel (Lysimachia nemorum)
Marsh thistle (Cirsium palustre)
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)

2.3ii A narrow fringe of base rich woodland at the plantation base, 7-8 m wide and dominated by Hazel (Corylus avellana) with Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) and Rusty willow (Salix cinerea ssp oleifolia).

Common dog-violet (Viola riviniana)
Tufted hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa)
Wood speedwell (Veronica montana)
a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum)
a moss (Atrichum undulatum)
Ivy (Hedera helix)
Tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum)
Wood horsetail (Equisetum sylvaticum)
Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium)
Barren strawberry (Potentilla sterilis)
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)
Pendulous sedge (Carex pendula)
Enchanter's nightshade (Circaea lutetiana)
a moss (Hypnum cupressiforme)
False brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum)
Male-fern (Dryopteris filix-mas)
Lady-fern (Athyrium filix-femina)
Pignut (Conopodium majus)
Lords-and-ladies (Arum maculatum)
Primrose (Primula vulgaris)
Sanicle (Sanicula europaea)
Hart's-tongue (Phyllitis scolopendrium)
a moss (Thamnobryum alopecurum)
a moss (Eurhynchium praelongum) A

An old sett was located here and a badger skull found.

The hedge that forms the Townland boundary leading to the site here is similarly Ash and Hazel with Willows, Hawthorn, Hilly and Alder, and with a spreading Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) base. Pignut (Conopodium majus), Tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum), Wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca), Primrose (Primula vulgaris) etc., confirm a high base status.

Area 2.4

A predominantly broad-leaved area comprising and original planting of Oaks, a mixture of Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) and Pedunculate oak (Quercus robur), very much dominated by the former.

Between the Oaks have been planted Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and Beech (Fagus sylvatica) which are now maturing (see photo 2.10):

Species Mature (max dbh) young sapling seedling

Beech (Fagus sylvatica) F-A 35(80) F-A F R
Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) F 35 F O R
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) R F R
Oaks oak (Q. robur/pedunculata) A-D 50 O R O
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) 9 O
Hazel (Corylus avellana) R
Downy birch (Betula pubescens) 10 R

Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) saplings are very local and associated with the embankment boundary.

In forestry terms, the Oak are in generally good condition with straight boles and little epicormic branching, although their hill-top position means the ground is well-drained so shake may be a factor.

Beech chemically suppresses ground flora development. This and dense leaf litter, mainly beech, but also including the Oak, help reduce species diversity and cover on the ground here (see photo 2.11).

Species table:
spp. quadrat
1 2 3 4

bare soil (%) 90 100 88 80
Ivy (Hedera helix) 3 1 1
a moss (Isothecium myosuroides) 5 5 5
Bramble (Rubus agg.) seedling 1 4
a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) 4 4
a liverwort (Lophocolea bidentata) 3
Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) 4
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) 5 4
a moss (Eurhynchium praelongum) 5 2
A better impression is gained from a general species list:
a moss (Eurhynchium striatum) LF
a moss (Isothecium myosuroides) LF
a liverwort (Lophocolea bidentata) LO
Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) LF
Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus) LO
Bramble (Rubus agg.) LF
a moss (Plagiothecium undulatum) O
Great wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica) OLA
Broad buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata) O
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) O
Scaly male-fern (Dryopteris affinis) R
Broad buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata) R

This mixture crosses the internal estate embankment boundary to the west of the area, and broadleaf cover, mainly Beech with increasing Hazel, but without the Oaks, follows the boundary north towards the track, beyond the edge of the forestry compartment 211K.2.

Area 2.5

Norway spruce (Picea abies) plantation sloping up from the track (see photo 2.12 taken from the boundary with Area 2.6), and with a central area that was cleared on the day of survey, and included in Area 2.1.

Amongst the Spruce stumps were groups of Alder (Alnus glutinosa) stumps, although no Alder were found in the remaining coniferous cover.

Species Mature (max dbh) young sapling seedling

Hazel (Corylus avellana) R
Beech (Fagus sylvatica) 22 R O
Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) 18 O O R
Norway spruce (Picea abies) D
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) R
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) R
Downy birch (Betula pubescens) R
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) R
Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) RLF

The embanked boundary between Areas 2.5 and 2.6 with Hazel (Corylus avellana), Pedunculate oak (Quercus robur) and Beech (Fagus sylvatica) and a few base rich indicators:

Sanicle (Sanicula europaea)
a moss (Plagiomnium undulatum)
a moss (Fissidens taxifolius)
a moss (Atrichum undulatum)
Wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa)
The predominant ground flora is the typical bryophyte dominated layer:

Species table:
spp. quadrat tot.
1 2 3 4 5

a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) 9 7 8 9 8 V
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) 8 8 8 9 7 V
a moss (Eurhynchium striatum) 5 5 8 3 6 V
Heath speedwell (Veronica officinalis) 3 I
Wood-sedge (Carex sylvatica) 1 2 1 1 IV
Glaucous sedge (Carex flacca) 1 I
Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) 4 I
Remote sedge (Carex remota) 3 1 II
a moss (Hypnum cupressiforme) 3 2 1 2 IV
Bramble (Rubus agg.) 1 1 II
Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus) 1 1 II
a moss (Polytrichum formosum) 3 I
Broad buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata) 3 1 II
Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) 1 1 II
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant) 1 1 II
Male-fern (Dryopteris filix-mas) 4 I
Great wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica) 3 I
a liverwort (Lophocolea bidentata) 2 I

A few additional species were listed, but the lists for similar plantation in Areas 2.2 and 2.3 are more complete and include species seen in Area 2.5.

Ivy (Hedera helix) R
Sanicle (Sanicula europaea) R
a moss (Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus) LO
Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) VLF
Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) VR
Slender St John's-wort (Hypericum pulchrum)
Bulbous rush (Juncus bulbosus) VLF
Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) VLF
Raspberry (Rubus idaeus)

There has been a lot of wind throw in the northern section possible recent as a result of felling. Additional species associated with disturbed root scars here:

Rosebay willowherb (Chamerion angustifolium)
Short-fruited willowherb (Epilobium obscurum)
Downy birch (Betula pubescens) seedlings LF
Soft-rush (Juncus effusus)
Marsh thistle (Cirsium palustre)
Common mouse-ear (Cerastium fontanum)

The eastern boundary of the site a typical estate embankment with Hazel (Corylus avellana), Holly (Ilex aquifolium), Rusty willow (Salix cinerea ssp oleifolia), Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), Beech (Fagus sylvatica) to 25 cm dbh, Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa), Eared willow (Salix aurita) and Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) young trees and saplings prominent.

Area 2.6

A different plantation area from the main Norway spruce (Picea abies) block, mainly under mature Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) (see photo 2.13):

Species Mature (max dbh) young sapling seedling

Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) D 60(70)
Beech (Fagus sylvatica) LO LF
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) O
Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) RLO 34 R
Scot's pine (Pinus sylvestris) LO 60
Hazel (Corylus avellana) O

the ground flora is very species-poor with few bryophytes. Those present associated with dead wood.

Species table:
spp. quadrat
1 2 3

Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) 6 7 7
Great wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica) 4 6
Broad buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata) 1 3 5
a moss (Hypnum cupressiforme) 1
Wood-sedge (Carex sylvatica) 1
a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) 1
a moss (Eurhynchium striatum) 1 6
a moss (Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus) 3
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant) 1
Herb-robert (Geranium robertianum) 1
Bramble (Rubus agg.) 1

Extra species:
Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) R
Male-fern (Dryopteris filix-mas) R
False brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum) R

Area 2.7

There is a more complicated planting pattern where the site meets the road to the south.

2.7i By the forestry gate, in the left of photo 2.14, a small, as yet unfelled area of Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) to 50 cm dbh, Beech (Fagus sylvatica) to 30 cm dbh, and a single Pedunculate oak (Quercus robur) @ 45 cm dbh. The fir and the Beech are both regenerating locally (see photo 2.15 of the fir).

2.7ii An embankment runs ± parallel to the road enclosing a narrow (10m) unplanted strip.

The embankment with a moss (Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus) and Great wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica) prominent, also Glaucous sedge (Carex flacca), Tufted hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa), Wood avens (Geum urbanum) and a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum).

A mixture of mainly Beech (Fagus sylvatica) with a little Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) with a dbh range between 20 - 27 cm are -planted along the embankment. Between is regeneration of Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia), Beech (Fagus sylvatica), Hazel (Corylus avellana) and Holly (Ilex aquifolium).

Between the embankment and the road-side tree fringe:

Species Mature (max dbh) young sapling seedling

Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) F
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) F
Hazel (Corylus avellana) O
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) R
Goat willow (Salix caprea) F
Downy birch (Betula pubescens) F
Rusty willow (Salix cinerea) O

With a rank cover between over a sparse layer of woodland species :

Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) A
Tufted hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa) F
Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) F
Great willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum) O
Square-stalked St John's-wort (Hypericum tetrapterum) O
Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) O
Remote sedge (Carex remota) O
Pendulous sedge (Carex pendula) R
Bramble (Rubus agg.) F
False brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum) O
Barren strawberry (Potentilla sterilis) O
a moss (Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus) LF
Sanicle (Sanicula europaea) LF
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) O
Common vetch (Vicia sativa) R
Lady-fern (Athyrium filix-femina) R
Short-fruited willowherb (Epilobium obscurum) O
Rosebay willowherb (Chamerion angustifolium) R
a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) O
Marsh thistle (Cirsium palustre) R
Ivy (Hedera helix) LF
Opposite-leaved g'-saxifrage (Chrysosplenium oppositifolium) VLF
Primrose (Primula vulgaris)
Herb-robert (Geranium robertianum)
Wild angelica (Angelica sylvestris)
Wood-sedge (Carex sylvatica)

2.7iii A small corner of the plantation, relatively recently fenced off (see photo 2.16). The fence encloses a mature Scot's pine (Pinus sylvestris) plantation, although several pine occur outside the fence. A mixture of younger trees are also present included planted spruce:

Species Mature (max dbh) young sapling seedling

Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) R
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) O
Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) R
Pedunculate oak (Quercus robur) LF
Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) O O
Scot's pine (Pinus sylvestris) A 38
Norway spruce (Picea abies) LF 17
Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) R
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) O O
Beech (Fagus sylvatica) O 28 F O R
Downy birch (Betula pubescens) O

The ground flora below seems strangely derived from an agricultural sward, certainly the soil is more nutrient-rich here than elsewhere on site. The grassy cover is compromised in places by weeds and also shade species:

Remote sedge (Carex remota) F
Bramble (Rubus agg.) F
Sweet vernal-grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum) F
Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) FLA
Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus) FLA
Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) FLA
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) LF
Tufted hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa) LF
Crested dog's-tail (Cynosurus cristatus) O
Meadow buttercup (Ranunculus acris) O
Ranunculus repens O
Spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare) O
Bog stitchwort (Stellaria uliginosa) O
Perennial rye-grass (Lolium perenne) O
Common sorrel (Rumex acetosa) O
Herb-robert (Geranium robertianum) O
Common mouse-ear (Cerastium fontanum) O
Marsh ragwort (Senecio aquaticus) O-F
Chickweed (Stellaria media) OLF
Bulbous rush (Juncus bulbosus) R
Scaly male-fern (Dryopteris affinis) R
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant) R
Nipplewort (Lapsana communis) R
Rosebay willowherb (Chamerion angustifolium) R
Raspberry (Rubus idaeus) R
Tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum) R
Red clover (Trifolium pratense) R
Common ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) R
Common dog-violet (Viola riviniana) R
Slender St John's-wort (Hypericum pulchrum) R
Great wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica) RLF
Common nettle (Urtica dioica) VLF
Primrose (Primula vulgaris)
Barren strawberry (Potentilla sterilis)
Heath wood-rush (Luzula multiflora)
Wavy bitter-cress (Cardamine flexuosa)
a moss (Dicranella heteromalla)
a moss (Polytrichum formosum)
Wood speedwell (Veronica montana)
a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum)
Primrose (Primula vulgaris)
False brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum)
a moss (Fissidens taxifolius)
a moss (Atrichum undulatum)
Wood dock (Rumex sanguineus)
Wild angelica (Angelica sylvestris)
Herb-robert (Geranium robertianum)
Square-stalked St John's-wort (Hypericum tetrapterum)
Wood-sedge (Carex sylvatica)
Pendulous sedge (Carex pendula)

Area 2.8

One of two small extensions to the south of the main plantation. Two former fields follow a ridge extending south and are enclosed by typical estate embankments.

The northern of the two ex-field has not been thinned (see photo 2.17) whereas every third row in the southern field has been removed (see photo 2.18). The main planted species are Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), and to a lesser extent European larch (Larix decidua), in the northern field with a dbh range 10 - 26 cm, whilst in the thinned southern field, to 30(35)cm. Joined by:

Species Mature (max dbh) young sapling seedling

Fraxinus excelsior 10 F F R
Downy birch (Betula pubescens) 10 F R R
Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) 6 O R
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) 4 OLF R
Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) VR
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) R
Beech (Fagus sylvatica) R
Goat willow (Salix caprea) 12 VR
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) R

The centre of the stand tends to be more pure conifer, whilst the pole stage Ash and Birch are more frequent at the margins. Apart from the usual hedge-edge shrubs (see photo 2.19 of the western boundary), Wild cherry (Prunus avium) is locally frequent and Gorse (Ulex europaeus) rare.

The ground flora of the thinned section is very poor often mainly bare needles. At the margins it resembles a species-poor version of the typical ground flora throughout the intact plantation:

Species table:
spp. quadrat tot.
1 2 3 4 5

Bare soil 30 10 10 20
a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) 8 8 8 9 8 V
a moss (Eurhynchium striatum) 3 6 4 3 1 V
Ivy (Hedera helix) 3 3 2 1 IV
Bramble (Rubus agg.) 4 4 II
a moss (Pseudoscleropodium purum) 1 1 II
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) seedling 1 I
Wood-sedge (Carex sylvatica) 3 I
Tufted hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa) 3 I
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) 4 I
Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) seedling 1 I

Additional species:
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant)
Pendulous sedge (Carex pendula) R
Trailing tormentil (Potentilla anglica)
Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus) VLF
Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) VLF
Broad buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata)
Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) VR
Heath speedwell (Veronica officinalis) VR
False brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum) VR
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) OLA
Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) R
Male-fern (Dryopteris filix-mas) R

Area 2.9

One of two small extensions to the south of the main plantation. This has been recently converted from an agricultural semi-improved neutral grassland to a new Spruce plantation, stretching down to a planted belt of sub-mature Pedunculate oak (Quercus robur) at the road side (see photos 2.20-22). The surface has been ditched and the planted conifers are now 70 - 175 cm tall. None the less, they have been well-outstripped in this early stage by establishing Willow and Birch scrub with a patchy cover around 40-60%. This colonisation the result of soil disturbance on planting.

The scrub comprises:
Downy birch (Betula pubescens) FLA
Rusty willow (Salix cinerea ssp oleifolia) FLA
a hybrid willow (Salix x multinervis) LA
Eared willow (Salix aurita) LO
Goat willow (Salix caprea) O
Hazel (Corylus avellana) R
Pedunculate oak (Quercus robur) sapling R
Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) R
Gorse (Ulex europaeus) R
Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) sapling R
Guelder-rose (Viburnum opulus) LR road side

Between which the sward is based on the former agricultural semi-improved neutral grassland, which has recruited a variety of new species:

Bramble (Rubus agg.) A
Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus) A
Compact rush (Juncus conglomeratus) F
Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) F
Sweet vernal-grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum) F-A
Creeping bent (Agrostis stolonifera) OLA
Sharp-flowered rush (Juncus acutiflorus) OLF
Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) LF
Marsh woundwort (Stachys palustris) LF
Hairy sedge (Carex hirta) LO
Cock's-foot (Dactylis glomerata) LO
Greater bird's-foot-trefoil (Lotus pedunculatus) O
Marsh thistle (Cirsium palustre) O
Pendulous sedge (Carex pendula) O
Meadow vetchling (Lathyrus pratensis) O
White clover (Trifolium repens) O
Tufted hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa) O
Red clover (Trifolium pratense) O
Field horsetail (Equisetum arvense) O
Tormentil (Potentilla erecta) O
Bush vetch (Vicia sepium) O
Great willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum) R
Rosebay willowherb (Chamerion angustifolium) R
Lady-fern (Athyrium filix-femina) R
Common knapweed (Centaurea nigra) R
Male-fern (Dryopteris filix-mas) R
Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) R
Soft shield-fern (Polystichum setiferum) R
Silverweed (Potentilla anserina) R
Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris) R
Plantago lanceolata R
Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) RLF
Wild angelica (Angelica sylvestris) R-O
Glaucous sedge (Carex flacca) R-O
Common couch (Elytrigia repens) VLF
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) VLF

The area is intensively used by the Fallow deer herd, the whole extent a maze of their paths and resting-up places.


Wood pigeon
Hedge sparrow

Evidence of the large Fallow deer herd is common throughout
Badger foraging tracks and a disused badger sett
Red squirrel are frequent (McAlpine pers. comm.)

Common frog

Green-veined white
Speckled wood (very frequent)
Small tortoiseshell
Silver-washed fritillary - seen by the road east of Derrygorry. A colony is known from this site (Ian Rippey pers. comm.)

Assessment of site:

Coniferous plantations occupy the unnatural end of the spectrum of woodland in Ireland. Even apart from their artificial origins these have little interest. The main planted species, Norway spruce (Picea abies) and locally Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) are non-native, few Irish animals have adapted to use these trees to their advantage. For example Douglas fir trees support 16 species of invertebrate compared to the 284 supported by native Oaks (Quercus spp.).

The ecological value of the associated flora within the plantation areas is low. Although the light climate is generally adequate to allow a ground layer (in places bare soil/needle litter was noted), the ground flora is species-poor, mainly dominated by two mosses Thuidium tamariscinum and Eurhynchium striatum.

The small area of Oak that is to be retained in Derrygorry is also disappointingly species-poor. This can be attributed to the inter-planting with Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and Beech (Fagus sylvatica), both of which contribute a dense shade that has greatly compromised field and ground layer development. There are indications in the bryophyte flora of the W11 Quercus petraea-Betula pubescens-Oxalis acetosella woodland.

The larger of the broad-leaved species that are scattered and rare throughout the plantation areas, are often spindly and may not be viable post-logging, however the pole stage saplings could form a useful part of the planned broad-leaf cover. It is not unusual to see some of the older broad-leaved specimens describing an arc shape, probably the result of being formerly pinned by thinned or wind thrown conifers (see photo 2.23).

The clearance of forestry on both sites has been relatively recent and re-colonisation is in its early stages, and at Favour Royal, has only just begun, although here there are adjacent areas that were presumably clear-felled, some years ago and an indication of likely succession is gained. Here Bramble is beginning to overrun a Common bent grassland. The sloping parts of the Derrygorry area seem likely to tend towards the same Common bent cover, but the slope base and level areas below the slope, probably a Creeping bent and Soft rush based sward.

Species that were recorded here which would be a valuable part of such a community are:

Remote sedge
Common bent
Bulbous rush
Meadow buttercup
Broad buckler-fern
Square-stalked St John's-wort
Compact rush
a moss (Hylocomium brevirostre)
Pale sedge
Heath speedwell
Common dog-violet
Wild angelica
Wood horsetail
Germander speedwell
Common figwort
Marsh thistle
Lesser spearwort
Tufted hair-grass
Heath wood-rush
Star sedge
Wild strawberry
Wood dock
Trailing tormentil
Hoary willowherb
Slender St John's-wort

Pale sedge (Carex pallescens) in particular is not a common species, but it should be an ambition to retain all these listed species in the eventual planting in open, or wood edge situations.

Recommendations on proposed management:

· The plantation is of very limited intrinsic scientific interest. The cleared areas are not likely to develop into a habitat that would be highly valued ecologically. Planting with broad-leaved trees represents the easiest way to increase the value of the site for wildlife, particularly as recolonising woodland species are generally present.

· Complete the felling and logging operations on both sites. Include the removal of Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) from the Oak section of Derrygorry felling pole and mature trees and uprooting saplings. Attempt to retain any Birch, Oak, Alder and Hazel that may be present and viable on both sites - The removal of the stream-side broad-leaved cover at Derrygorry is particularly regrettable

· Guidelines on the creation of native woodlands are given in Rodwell and Patterson (1994).

They provide a few notes on the conversion of coniferous woodland to a broad-leaved woodland after felling:

1. The approach is broadly the same as for planting previously un-wooded areas, although soils may be modified acidification, and there are fewer indications of the appropriate semi-natural community to target.

2. Regeneration and colonisation by trees and shrubs will sometimes occur profusely on felled ground after felling. These may include exotic species as well as native trees, especially Birch.

3. Felling residues, notably tree branches and needles play an important part in early vegetation succession. Brash slows down the re-vegetation and best policy is to ensure that most of he site has little or no brash remaining.

4. Harvesting machinery used in the clear felling can cause site disturbances which have effects like those of cultivation machinery.

· Given the Millennium Forests Project's stated aims, the selected trees for planting should be at least largely restricted to native species and comprise Irish stock.

The planting should aim to create a semi-natural mixture of species. Some insight into what this may be here is gained from looking at the naturally established trees and shrubs in the plantation and particularly at the edges, although care must be taken not to rely too much on the species composition on the estate embankments where edaphic conditions will be significantly different to those of level ground.

Oak clearly thrive in the area and probably have a long history of planting in the general area, even the site name Derrygorry probably alludes to Oak woodland. Either Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) or Pedunculate oak (Quercus robur) could be used extensively. Especially in the upslope sections of both sites.

The target community here would be close to W11 Quercus petraea-Betula pubescens-Oxalis acetosella woodland.

Oak (Q. petraea or robur) Predominant planting species
Downy birch (Betula pubescens) Frequent species
Hazel (Corylus avellana) Secondary species
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) Secondary species
Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) Secondary species
Bird cherry (Prunus padus) Trackside groups (Irish stock)
Goat willow (Salix caprea) Occasional
Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) Allow natural generation
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) Allow natural generation
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) Allow natural generation

Alongside the stream in Derrygorry in a zone that could cover any level ground here, Alder (Alnus glutinosa) and Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) should form the basis of planting with the target W6 Alnus glutinosa-Urtica dioica woodland, or more likely W7 Alnus glutinosa-Fraxinus excelsior-Lysimachia nemorum woodland depending upon natural development after planting.

Given that highly modified woodland is characteristic of the Favour Royal estate, there is latitude for the introduction of non-native species in small groups. Of these the most favoured are:

Southern beech (Nothofagus sp.)
Beech (Fagus sylvatica)
Scot's pine (Pinus sylvestris) (avoid any other conifers)
Sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa)
Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus)

Coniferous forestry species such as Spruce's or Firs should only be replanted if as a nursery crop with a guarantee of their subsequent removal.

Because of the stature of Beech it seems likely that this is a species that may be selected given the country estate setting. Selected areas could be planted with Beech with a target community of W14 Fagus sylvatica-Rubus fruticosus woodland. However, keep these areas relatively small and do not allow this species to predominate over large areas.

· Over much (e.g. 30% or more) of the planting area leave gaps and rides. Particularly where a grassland cover is re-establishing - here create irregular shaped groups (called 'drifts') of 9 to 40 trees in an open matrix (i.e. patches of woodland in open habitat rather than open patches in a woodland habitat). Emphasise irregularity by following land form and contour, and keep each group asymmetrical in both size and shape.

Early scrub clearance may be helpful between the tree groups to prevent domination of either Bramble of Birch, thus monitoring of scrub development should be built into the management plan.

The aim is to establish a mosaic of spinneys and open areas that will incorporate the desirable species listed in the assessment section, favour animals with requirements for more than one habitat, including the Silver-washed fritillary.

· In places Spruce appears to be regenerating from self-sown seed, not a feat for which it is well-known, although the survival of these in shade is questionable as no individuals greater than finger-sized were apparent. The ongoing removal of self-sown Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and possibly even Norway spruce (Picea abies) should be included in post planting management.

· Rhododendron (Rhododendron ponticum) noted on the perimeter trackside around the Favour Royal planting area.

It will be substantially easier to keep the new plantation free of exotic species than it would be to clear them if they became well-established.

· The Fallow deer herd that ranges across the estate is controlled by culling (McAlpine pers. comm.), but considered large enough to warrant careful monitoring of sapling survival rates in newly planted areas. If bark-stripping and browsing challenges new woodland development there may be a requirement for expensive fencing.

· The value of both planting areas could be improved if they were to eventually be linked by broad-leaved woodland. The intervening area of Latten Wood has recently been planted under second rotation coniferous forestry and it would be a laudable long-term plan to eventually re-structure this area to broad-leaved cover. This would depend upon a long-term strategy for the whole of the site.

· Access into and around the proposed planting areas would be easily facilitated by the infrastructure of forestry tracks. The recent sale of forestry from public to private ownership, and the possible development of a golf course, may compromise recreational use of the general area by the wider public.


I would like to thank Ewan Paul of FSNI, Martin O'Donnell of Coillte, Ian Rippey of Butterfly conservation, Alison Constanzo and Kevin Ramsay of KMM MarEnCo, Ian McNeil, the BSBI County Recorder for Tyrone, Barry McAlpine, local landowner and holder of sporting rights, and Michael Wyse Jackson of Dúchas for their support in this project.


Cruickshank, J.G. (1997)
Soil and environment: Northern Ireland.
DANI and Queen's University, Belfast.

Rodwell, J.S. (ed.) (1992)
British Plant Communities volume 3. Grasslands and montane communities.
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Rodwell, J.S. and Patterson G.S. (1994)
Creating new native woodlands
Forestry Commission Bulletin 112. HMSO, London

Appendix 1. Photographs

Appendix 2. Collected literature

Sub-site 2: Derrygorry - (internal woodland symbols removed for clarity)

Sub-site 1: Favour Royal - (internal woodland symbols removed for clarity)

*Please note that it was not possible to reproduce figures for inclusion on the website version of the reports.