Woodland

Woodland cover in the Cotswolds AONB is estimated to be 20,657 ha (10.1% of the AONB area) and mainly comprises broadleaved woodland (65% of woodland cover), followed by coniferous woodland (15%) and mixed woodland (13%). ‘Other’ woodland includes felled woodland (245ha), shrub (257 ha) and young trees (842 ha). Ash and beech are the predominant broadleaved species, with approximately 4,400 ha of ash and 4,000 ha of beech. Oak and mixed broadleaves account for a further 3,000ha.

Ancient beech woods tend to be concentrated along the scarp and ‘incised valleys’, whereas mixed oak, ash, sycamore and maple tend to be concentrated on the dip slope. There are in addition areas of lowland wood pasture and parkland, associated with large estates, and some large blocks of conifer plantation.

Ancient Woodlands

The area of woodland in the AONB on ancient woodland sites is 9,292 ha (44.9% of woodland cover and 4.6% of the AONB area). This includes Ancient & Semi-Natural Woodland (5,940ha) and Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites (3,352ha).

Ancient woodland, especially beech, is a particularly distinct and prominent feature of the Cotswolds – particularly along the scarp and incised valleys. Part of this woodland is included within the Cotswold Beechwoods Special Area of Conservation.