Queens Award for Voluntary Service

Pony Wood

Pony Wood is 0.5 ha (approx. 1 acre) woodland on the top of the hill and on both sides of the path leading from The Pads.


  • Pony Wood was planted in the late 19th century as a landscape feature by the owner of Aldcliffe Hall.
  • It was heavily sheep-grazed resulting in a woodland devoid of under–storey and ground flora.

Since 2014

  • We have planted saplings to improve the diversity and structure of the wood.
  • Installed a footpath from the Long Pads to Aldcliffe Road giving views over the city and as far as the Coniston Fells.
  • Extended the area of woodland on both sides of the footpath.
  • Installed nest and bat boxes.

Current Features

  • The historic woodland is dominated by mature ash, beech, sycamore, lime and sweet chestnut.
  • The extensions have increased species diversity. We have planted field maple, lime, whitebeam, blackthorn, hazel, holly, dogwood, dog rose, crab apple, rowan, bird cherry, honeysuckle, silver birch, hornbeam, guelder rose and lots of oak.
  • Bluebells, primroses and lesser celandine are now present.
  • The bat boxes are used by pipistrelles and the bird boxes by stock dove and blue and great tits.


  • The trees are monitored annually by a professional tree surgeon and a photographic record is kept of ash die back. Trees are felled or branches removed only if they are a hazard. Lying or standing dead wood is left as a wildlife habitat.
  • Areas around newly planted saplings are kept clear of nettles in the summer.
  • Hazel is selectively coppiced in winter to regenerate the tree and provide material for hedging and fencing.


  • The saplings we have planted will replace the canopy trees such as ash that we will lose, forming a better woodland structure.
  • We hope to further extend the area of woodland.

Look out for

Sparrowhawk or kestrel perched on the tall trees at the edge of the wood, and small birds such as treecreepers, chaffinch and long-tailed tits.

Photographic Survey

We maintain a record of how the various areas of Nature Reserve are progressing. Photographs have been taken on roughly 5 occasions each year: March, mid-May, late June, early August and late September. Click on an image to launch the survey photograph album.

Photographs launch in an album in Google Photos and should appear in date order in the album. To find out the date particular photos were taken, first select the photo and then select the ‘i’ icon (top-right of screen) to bring up its properties.

View19-Pony Wood North Album
View 19: Pony Wood North
View 20: Pony Wood Album
View 20: Pony Wood South East
View 21: Pony Wood
View 21: Pony Wood West
View 21A- Pony Wood East side Album
View 21A: Pony Wood East side
View22-Pony Wood extension Album
View 22: Pony Wood (2014)extension