Scotland’s bioregions all face the same dilemma: to graze or not to graze.
Having taken stewardship of Ferry Wood, Carina and I are acutely aware of this issue that affects the whole of the landscape; woodlands in particular.
Most of our site is ancient oak woodland and – as you can see from the picture – deer spend a lot of time in it, as they have done for centuries and almost certainly for millennia.
For this reason we are looking into putting up a deer fence to control grazing. It’s not that we want to exclude grazing altogether, just that we want to regain control of it.
Kate Holl, whom I have heard about through the Native Woodland Discussion Group, last year visited woods in other countries where there is low herbivore pressure. She was blown away by how rich the understory was, particularly the field or herb layer. She chronicles this in her wordpress blog wherehavealltheflowersgone.wordpress.com.
That is why we are putting up a deer fence: to get the field layer back to the floral profusion found, say, in an Icelandic wood.