Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust are leading the Ancient Woodland Inventory Update for South Yorkshire. The project is split into four phases:
In this phase, modern high-resolution aerial photography is compared with the first series of Ordnance Survey maps, dating from the 19th century. The high level of detail in these maps allows for accurate identification of long-established woodland.
Any wood present on both maps will be recorded using mapping software, ready for the next step.
This phase compares the results of Phase 1 with the existing Ancient Woodland Inventory, establishing previously designated woodland and identifying areas for further research.
In some cases this will simply be refining the boundaries of the previous inventory, but many will be potential new additions.
In this phase, any sites not previously identified as ancient will be investigated. This will be the largest stage, and involves compiling many different sources of evidence, including:
- Pre-OS maps and sketches
- Tithe maps
- Place names
- Botanical surveys
- Archaeological features
By the end of this phase, any areas identified that are not present on the original AWI will be confirmed or disregarded as being ancient woodland. Each site will have been justified by multiple sources of evidence, meaning that we can be confident in its designation.
Finally, this phase will see each woodland site evaluated for its inclusion in the updated AWI. The final map and accompanying data will be sent to Natural England, and will be joined with the other regional projects to form the new Ancient Woodland Inventory (AWI).