Scientific name Quercus petraea – Luzula sylvatica woodland
Common name Sessile Oak – Great Wood-rush woodland
Community code WL1B


WL1B: Quercus petraea – Luzula sylvatica woodland   WL1B: Quercus petraea – Luzula sylvatica woodland  WL1B map: Quercus petraea – Luzula sylvatica woodland

Download full pdf synopsis: WL1B



This is a high forest community dominated by Quercus petraea, beneath whose canopy Ilex aquifolium typically forms a well-developed understorey, frequently joined by Corylus avellana. Sorbus aucuparia, Betula pubescens, and Fagus sylvatica are occasional. In the field layer the constant species are Hedera helix, Dryopteris dilatata, Lonicera periclymenum, Rubus fruticosus agg. and Luzula sylvatica, this last species often forming quite extensive swards. Polypodium vulgare is frequently seen growing epiphytically on the oaks. The chief bryophyte species are Isothecium myosuroides, Kindbergia praelonga, Thuidium tamariscinum and Hypnum cupressiforme, but overall bryophyte cover is rather low.



This is a woodland community of acidic and nutrient-poor podzols and well-drained mineral soils found on steep slopes in the upland margins.



No sub-communities have been described for this community.


Similar communities

From community WL1A, these stands differ in the dominant oak species. Corylus avellana is not as frequent or abundant in the present community as it is in stands of WL1C and in that community Luzula sylvatica is never abundant. The WL1D community differs in the greater frequency of Betula pubescens, Sorbus aucuparia and Vaccinium myrtillus and more diverse bryophyte flora.


Conservation value

This is on average a fairly species-poor woodland community but with a reasonable bryophyte flora. Almost all of these stands qualify as EU Annex I habitat 91A0 Old oak woodlands.



These woodlands are commonly grazed, particularly by deer, and overgrazing is an acknowledged problem. Locally, woods have been fenced and deer culling employed to try to promote woodland regeneration. Invasion by non-native species and woodland clearance are also threats. Rhododendron ponticum thrives in these moist, acidic conditions. Spraying with herbicide, cutting and removal of seedlings have been used to combat the spread of this species within these woods.