Wood and therefore woodlands have played an important role in human history, not only were they places where humans could hunt for food, but they also provided the raw materials for building and industry. Whether this was for the construction of houses, the making and provision of household wares (such as chairs, bowels, spoons and bedding material etc) or for the production of charcoal, used in the processes of iron working, woodlands have played an important role throughout history.
Unlike farmland which may have been subject to continual ploughing activity, woodland and woodland management has been generally less destructive. As a result, woodlands can preserve evidence of past human activity dating from early human settlers through to the First World War and present day.
Woodlands are rich for their ecology and many support and preserve distinctive animals and plants relating to the original ‘wild wood’. In the South Pennines woodlands are relatively small in size and include the locally distinctive oak clough woodland in sheltered upland valleys or ‘cloughs‘. Whilst woodland cover may be low and fragmented, around 50% of woodland is either publicly owned or fully accessible to the public, making this a resource that members of the public can freely access and a unique opportunity to engage groups in the natural environment.