Firestone Copse, near Wootton and Havenstreet. Picture by Bob Rudd.
HUNDREDS of acres of newly identified ancient woodland on the Isle of Wight have been revealed thanks to a new survey.
An Isle of Wight Council spokesman said work carried out on behalf of the Isle of Wight Biodiversity Partnership had confirmed 110 additional woodlands dating back to the 1600s or earlier.
The discoveries were made thanks to access to information and techniques that were unavailable at the time of the last survey, in 1987.
Isle of Wight Council parks and countryside manager and chairman of the Isle of Wight Biodiversity Partnership Matthew Chatfield said: "The survey was carried out over much of last year and has revealed nearly 250 extra hectares — more than 600 acres — of ancient woodland.
"Much of this was because of the new resources and techniques available."
The Island has a total of around 900 hectares of woodland that have retained their ancient characteristics. Among them are Firestone Copse and Parkhurst Forest, which is mentioned in the Domesday book as a royal hunting forest that extended as far as Cowes.
Isle of Wight Council executive member for sustainability Cllr Luisa Hillard said: "Knowing the locations of ancient woodlands across the Island is very important.
"They add to the Island’s unique character and area of outstanding beauty.
"One of the main reasons people visit the Isle of Wight is to see the countryside and it is important that these areas are protected for their social and economic benefits.
"Natural England also considers that ancient woodlands should be protected and this is key to any future policy or planning decisions."
• For more information about the Isle of Wight’s woodland, visit the Biodiversity Partnership website: www.WildonWight.co.uk