At the beginning of the book, we look at what we have lost and what remains of our woods, including our precious Ancient Semi-natural Woodlands.
"Ancient woods were often enclosed from the ‘wastes’ in mediaeval times and protected from grazing animals because of their valuable wood products. They were then worked
intensively over the centuries – both the coppice understorey and the timber overstorey – with more valuable species favoured to produce a highly modified ‘semi-natural’ structure
and habitat. The periodic influx of light and disturbance has generated a characteristic flora and fauna, which is lost when the coppicing stops. The actual age of the trees in an ancient
wood is not the crucial factor – it is the time the whole woodland site has been wooded and the soils undisturbed. Of course, there are often trees of great antiquity in ancient woods, which adds to their natural value."