A thorough walk-over survey should be carried out even if you already think you know the industrial treescape well. The aim is to methodically cover all the study area criss-crossing the woodland to identify the location of prominent features relating to its geology, topography, ecology and archaeology. It is a rapid assessment so there is no need to spend too long examining any individual tree or other feature. A walk-over survey form should be completed with accompanying photographs or sketches. As a minimum, record:
- The date of the survey.
- Who carried out the survey.
- Where the survey was carried out (provide map references or GPS reference points where possible).
- The locations and brief description of any features.
A survey of a large wood can seem daunting so break the area down systematically into smaller, more manageable chunks, and agree a suitable timetable. If compartments already exist then it may be more meaningful if your surveys match these. It is recommended that a general survey (Level 1) of the whole woodland is carried out before a very detailed survey of a small area. Always remember that, as a volunteer, you can return to the woodland and expand the surveys at a later date.
An appropriate map, the 1:2,500 scale (1mm on the map = 2.5m on the ground) is recommended for a general survey. It will have fixed point features already mapped which you can use as reference points for your more detailed mapping and to orientate yourself.