back Briddlesford Woods


Peoples Trust for Endangered Species

People’s Trust for Endangered Species owns Briddlesford Parkland – 10 hectares of peaceful wood pasture and Hurst Copse – 5 hectares of beautiful semi-natural ancient woodland near Wootton Bridge on the Isle of Wight. Hurst Copse and Briddlesford Parkland are open to the public all year round.

Briddlesford Woods is the largest remaining block of ancient semi-natural woodland on the Isle of Wight and the trust bought the core part of this Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 1991 with help from the National Heritage Memorial Fund. Two further purchases since then have greatly enlarged the reserve and its potential for nature conservation.

Briddlesford is one of the few places in the UK where endangered dormice and red squirrels can both be found. Two species of rare bat, Barbastelles and Bechstein’s, also breed there and the woodlands have recently been re-designated as both a SSSI and a Special Area for Conservation (SAC). This gives it the highest protection under EU legislation.

The site is also of interest for its invertebrate and plant life. One of the most important features of the woodland flora is the abundance of narrow-leaved lungwort. This species is restricted in Britain to ancient woodlands on the shores and tributaries of the Solent. The presence of these rare animals and plants constitutes an assemblage of species that is unique within the UK.

Briddlesford Woods is currently being managed with help from the Forestry Commission’s English Woodland Grant Scheme. A Jigsaw grant has also enabled PTES to begin de-fragmenting the woodland, widening narrow fragile copses and restoring hedgerows. Over 5,000 native trees grown from seed collected in Briddlesford have been planted over the last 2 years, and we have been actively encouraging natural regeneration of native trees in the surrounding copses into grassland areas. You can help by donating to PTES to plant a tree.

We have established a long-rotation (15-20 years) coppicing regime to ensure a steady supply of hazelnuts for the red squirrels and dormice to eat. We also maintain a network of rides and glades to allow light to reach the woodland floor benefiting wild flowers, butterflies and other invertebrates.

There are areas of non-intervention within the woodland where we have allowed a high forest structure to develop. This habitat is of considerable conservation value and adds another dimension to this diverse woodland. An abundance of dead and decaying wood is retained wherever possible in all copses to encourage insects and fungi.