Historical woodland types—rediscovering a rich language belonging to landscape

A woodland means much more than an area filled with trees for timber production, a collection of species belonging to an identified ‘woodland type’ or a set of habitats. It is a culturally rich term, which has been heightened with meaning over thousands of years. Traditional place names and old words reveal a host of old woodland terms, which together cover an extremely rich variety of characters and management regimes— landscape words like woodpasture, coppice woodland, holt (a wood, perhaps a single-

species wood), lund, lound, grove and launde (woodland glade, lawn) are all found in old landscape documents in Britain (Muir 1999), and corresponding terms can also be found in all the Scandinavian countries or in Germany. They just give a hint of how many types and aspects there have been in relation to a woodland through time—types and aspects that should be more interesting as an inspiration and as a base of knowledge for the future compared to what we see around us today and feel obliged to use in the design of a woodland. Such an historical retrospective should provide a rich base for design. We should, however, be careful in trying to ‘copy’ woodland concepts from not only forestry but also from nature conservation or forest ecology that concern the descriptions of countryside or historical types. The urban context means new situations and functions, and therefore possibilities to rethink historical types and also to include a whole series of new types or variants.

Updated: October 1, 2015 — 1:26 pm