Colwick Woods comprises a large area of deciduous woodland with associated grasslands (open grasslands, glades and rides), running water, and stands of scrub. Ancient woodland is more than a collection of trees, it is a complex assembly of plants and animals that if lost cannot be recreated.
Areas within compartment 2, 3a and 5 (see map above) are classified as “ancient”. (Nottingham City Council Local Plan 1997) This national designation means the land is known to have been under continuous woodland since 1600 and by implication far longer.
The slopes of the wood, (compartments 1,2,5,6), support high forest dominated by Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) and Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) with Oak (Quercus robur), beech (Fagus sylvatica) wild cherry (Prunus avium) and field maple (Acer campestre). On the highest point of the woodland next to the covered reservoirs, (compartment 3a) oak becomes the dominant canopy tree and the ground flora supports yorkshire fog grass (Holcus lanatus) with bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta ) and bramble.
Grey Sedge grows in a small colony alongside Colwick Road (compartment 1). It has survived there for several years. This is the only site in Nottinghamshire that this species has been recorded but is not at the current time identified in the Local Biodiversity Action Plan.
There are two large areas of open grassland (Compartments 8. 9 and 10).
Short grassland: This occurs on the slopes of the hill and is rich in plant species. The soil acidity is around neutral. Summer flowers include the delicate Ladies Bedstraw, Birds-foot Trefoil (also known as Bacon and Eggs), Yarrow, Agrimony, and clovers. The flowers are important nectar for the wild bees that live in the woods to make honey, and for butterflies and many other insects. Meadow ants build soil mounds in places which may at first sight appear handy to sit on. Often overlooked are 16 species of grass and sedge in the central grassland area alone.
Tall rough grassland: This is found around the woodland edge and glades. It contains Burdock with its large leaves and hooked seed heads, close to Dandelions – could make a nice drink! Tall umbrella shaped flower heads of Hogweed. Bramble and some raspberry patches great for picking blackberries. Nettle patches are good food for butterflies and other species.