Ecclesall Woods is Sheffield's premier woodland and probably the most important public woodland in the county of South Yorkshire, extending to nearly 140ha (over 350 acres).
It is the largest semi-natural ancient woodland in the county. Ancient woodlands are those present since at least 1600AD, and are particularly valuable because of their long history, resulting in a wealth of wildflowers like bluebells, and a wide range of other wildlife.
The woods support several UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species (for example, the Song Thrush) and habitats (wet woodland). Because of its high wildlife value, it is a proposed Local Nature Reserve.
Around 300,000 to 400,000 visits are made to the woodland every year, using the extensive path network. Visitors come from across the city and adjoining areas.
The site is also well used for educational activities by local schools, universities and ourselves.
Ecclesall Woods has a long history of active management to produce timber, charcoal and other wood products.
From the 16th century until the late nineteenth century the woodland was managed as a "coppice with standards", with parts of the woodland regularly cut down every 15-25 years and then allowed to re-grow.
The cut material or "coppice" was used for firewood or making charcoal. The "standards" were trees allowed to grow for around 100 years, and then felled to provide timber for house building.
The woodland is also of major archaeological and historical interest, with features from pre-history (Romano-British field systems) through to the middle ages (charcoal hearths, white-coal pits, wood colliers grave) and beyond.
The South Yorkshire Archaeology Service considers it one of the most important woodlands in the county.
The Site Management Plan aims to safeguard the future of Ecclesall Woods as a special place for people and wildlife.
The plan has pulled together the known information on the site for recreation, wildlife, and archaeology amongst other things and after talking and liaising with many different organisations and the local community, sets out management objectives for the long-term and a programme of maintenance and improvement works.
We have prepared the plan with a lot of help from The Friends of Ecclesall Woods, Sheffield Hallam University and South Yorkshire Archaeology Service.
A copy of the site's management plan is available to download below.
Ecclesall Woods Management Plan 2012-2016