|Site of Special Scientific Interest|
|Area of Search||Northamptonshire|
|Location map||Magic Map|
Whittlewood Forest is a former medieval hunting forest east of Silverstone in Northamptonshire in England. It is managed by the Forestry England.There are tracts of ancient woodland within the forest, and old ditch boundaries can be found at the edges of several of the individual woods. The area has been the subject of extensive academic historical research. An area of 400 hectares in seven different patches has been designated a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It is a Nature Conservation Review site, Grade 2.
The core of the forest is between the villages of Silverstone, Syresham, Abthorpe, Wicken and Potterspury extending south to the Northamptonshire-Buckinghamshire county boundary. Interconnecting woods, made up in part by Hazelborough Wood, make up the main section. Isolated woods such as Bucknell Wood and a scattered collection east of the village of Whittlebury, stretching east to Potterspury make up the majority of the rest. Remnants exist all around the villages and over the county boundary into Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes. Outliers include Whistley wood to the west of Syresham.
It is managed by the Forestry Commission, who also manage neighbouring woods such as Salcey Forest and Yardley Chase. Parts of the wood are protected as an SSSI, especially a number of separate copses which represent the remnants of the old Royal Forest. .
It is notable for bluebells in mid-Spring in many parts of the forest together with other ancient woodland indicator species such as Yellow rattle and the Lesser celandine. There are stands of beech and oak interspersed with hazel coppice as well as conifer plantations within the forest. The conifer plantations are slowly being removed as a part of a national policy to restore ancient woodland. They will be replaced with native hardwoods such as oak and beech. As with most ancient woods, coppicing is no longer practised, and many former coppice stools can be seen in the woods.
Many types of deer can be found in the forest, including red deer and roe deer as well as Muntjac deer. Foxes and badgers are common. Birds include buzzards and there are occasional sightings of the Red kite, possibly from the expanding population in the Chilterns.
The SSSI is ancient semi-natural woodlands with many trees which are mature or over-mature, especially pedunculate oaks. There are also many ash trees and a scattering of silver birches and aspens. The oaks have nationally rare and nationally uncommon beetles, and there are locally rare lichens.
Some areas are open to the public, and footpaths go through others such as Say's Copse, but some are private land.
- "Designated Sites View: Whittlewood Forest". Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
- "Whittlewood Forest - Bucknells Wood". Woodland Trust. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
- The Whittlewood Project
- "Map of Whittlewood Forest". Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
- Ratcliffe, Derek, ed. (1977). A Nature Conservation Review. 2. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 85. ISBN 0521 21403 3.
- "Whittlewood Forest citation" (PDF). Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Whittlewood Forest.|