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Woodland management

Highgate Wood has a long history as a hornbeam coppice with oak standards. The conservation of this distinctive character is a key part of our woodland management. Traditionally, hornbeam were 'coppiced', which means regularly cut down to provide smaller timber for fuel. By contrast, surrounding oaks were left to mature into trees intended to provide larger timbers for construction.

Conservation areas

Since 1977, one acre 'conservation areas' spread throughout the wood have been created every 5 years. These have been partially coppiced and managed to encourage regeneration of this traditional mix and other native species. This also encourages tree age diversity, allows veteran trees to be supported, and creates and maintains a diversity of habitats and species.


The rich diversity of wildlife in Highgate Wood has been well researched and documented over the years. Our moth survey is now the longest-running in the UK, having begun in 1985.

So far, we've recorded:

  • over 900 invertebrate species
  • over 400 moth species
  • 353 fungi species and counting
  • 70 bird species
  • seven bat species

Many of these species are reliant on very particular niches found only in ancient woodlands, with their well-developed and complex ecosystems.

Biodiversity for the future

One of the long-term aims of our conservation management here is to keep cycles of growth and decay in a continuous, healthy balance. The challenge there is to maintain the balance in response to the modern pressures of increased visitor numbers and climate change. Fortunately, this ancient woodland has developed robust ecosystems which make this possible. These ecosystems continue to enlighten and educate us, and will help us to provide the right conditions to support a rich biodiversity in the future.


You can email us with any questions you'd like to ask us about our wildlife or ecology. Our team is happy to try and answer your questions.

08 December 2015
Last Modified:
30 August 2019