Dulwich Woods are acknowledged to be a 'one age' woodland of predominately oak, unfortunately the oak species are gradually dying and there is concern that, because of the lack of natural oak regeneration, the wood is in danger of reverting to mainly ash and sycamore.
In 1999 an area of approximately one acre was substantially cleared of vegetation in order to allow additional light into the wood and thus encourage the natural regeneration of oak saplings, which require more light than other regenerating species such ash and sycamore. The area cleared was to the north-east of the footpath from Peckarmans Wood into Grange Lane.
The results of this trial have been disappointing and after a period of four years there was little evidence of any significant improvement in oak regeneration, indeed the area was becoming overgrown with ash, sycamore and birch together with a dense under layer of brambles. It was therefore decided to clear all the vegetation apart from the mature oaks and oak saplings that were clearly identifiable.
Approximately 1000 oak transplants are now being planted throughout the cleared area, the transplants are in the form of 'cells' which have a small root ball and will have a more successful survival rate than bare root transplants. The oaks are species of English Oak (Quercus robur) and are obtained from a source in Shropshire, they are pure stock and have not been imported. It is the intention of the Dulwich Estate to manage the newly planted area with regular clearance of unwanted species between the rows of oak transplants; this will hopefully provide the required oak regeneration, albeit with some help!
Consultant, The Dulwich Estate