Sunday, 3 October 2010

The way through the woods

The weather on Saturday was just perfect for a walk in the woods and where better to walk than Wytham. As mentioned previously in this blog, Wytham Woods is a mixed woodland, consisting of beech, oak and non native trees and is to the west of Oxford and is managed by the University of Oxford Wildlife Conservation Unit, hence a permit is required to visit:
As the woods are used extensively for research, there are many pathways but not many visitors:
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The woods are an 'open air laboratory' and among the research subjects is the sizeable badger population, where regular recordings of weight, facial markings and rectal temperature make these badgers probably some of the most studied in the world.  There are several badger setts and some are obvious from the footpaths.
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Other areas of research include the effect of deer on bird populations; foods eaten by wood mice; and leaf litter decomposition.  As a result of this research, experimental apparatus can be seen throughout the woods, from bird boxes used to measure great tit populations to a huge walk way to assess the affects of climate change on the tree canopy:

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The mixed woodland consists of oak, pollard beech and coppiced hazel and present an opportunity to try and create some panoramic photographs of the beech trees:


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As well as impressive trees, there are also impressive views:
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More information on Wytham Woods can be found at the WCRU website: 

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