Little Doward Woods Grazing for archaeology
LocationCounty: Wales West Midlands South West
Little Doward is part of the nationally important Wye Valley Woods. Situated in Herefordshire it is a prominent feature of the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The 82 hectare (ha) site is a diverse mix of ancient semi-natural woodland and wood pasture, with native trees.The biological interest of the site is a legacy to the continuity of both tree cover and grazing through time, particularly on the south facing limestone slopes, rocks and cliffs. The site was subject to common grazing with a variety of livestock, and cutting rights that resulted in a large number of ancient pollards, particularly beech, Fagus sylvatica. In the mid 19th Century the common was enclosed as a deer park.The Little Doward management plan requires the restoration of the wood pasture system, especially on the priority southern and south western slopes. Funding has been secured to further thin regenerating ash, Fraxinus excelsior, from around the ancient trees, and create 20 ha grazing sub unit within the larger 53 ha compartment. Sheep and deer are being considered as grazers for the sub unit, therefore deer fencing may be a necessity.
There is a large population of fallow deer, Dama dama, in the wider landscape. The Deer Initiative’s Deer Management Group for the area has aspirations to reduce numbers.