Woodlands are incredibly rich ecosystems supporting hundreds of different species from squirrels to fungi.
Did you know? Woodlands can be split up into 4 zones! A canopy, understory, herb layer and ground layer. Each zone supports its own group of plants and animals and is defined by the amount of light it receives from the canopy. For general woodland wildlife see our woodland spotting guide.
Fairy Glen’s canopy is predominantly made up of sycamore trees which are famous for their helicopter-like seed pods that flutter to the ground in autumn. The site also has sessile oak and ash trees dotted throughout. See how many you can find with our helpful spotting guide. In this luscious canopy you can also spot grey squirrels, long tailed tits, jackdaws, wood pigeons, and buzzards.
In this layer you can find shrubs and small trees that grow in less light such as holly, ash saplings and hazel. Hiding in the shrubs you may find blackbirds, song thrush, kingfisher, chaffinch and treecreeper. Decaying trees with large hollows provide shelter for several bat species, including the common pipistrelle, brown long-eared, and whiskered.
The herb layer
Fairy Glen’s herb layer falls into three distinctive categories: woodland vegetation, taller grass vegetation and wet bank vegetation by the river. Woodland vegetation includes species such as ramsons (wild garlic), and cow parsley which are dominant throughout Fairy Glen. The taller grass vegetation includes nettle, wood avens, hogweed, and hedge mustard. Along the river banks, there’s great horsetail, willowherb, and Yorkshire fog. This varied herb layercreates a wonderful habitat for all kinds of insects including butterflies, bees, and beetles.
The ground layer
This layer receives basically no light and consists of fungi, mosses, thick leaf litter and nutritious mud that hides insects that prefer wetter conditions, such as earthworms and woodlice. Badgers have also been known to burrow and forage through this woodland. This layer is also home to something we like to call the wood wide web.
The Wood Wide Web
This term refers to the secret network of fungi that connects tree roots and plant roots together and allows the movement of nitrogen, water, carbon and other nutrients. This network is only formed in less damaged and more natural woodlands. Trees use this network to communicate with one another and send signals of distress about drought, disease or insect attacks. This allows distressed trees to receive more water or nutrients to help survive the period of stress. Or it helps other trees prepare for the same conditions if they are not yet affected.
For more information on all of the wildlife that can be found in Fairy Glen, visit the North Wales Wildlife trust website
The different seasons
Woodlands can look very different depending on the time of year. So if you want to check out something that you can only see at certain times of year, take a look our seasonal wildlife guide