Upland woodland was once a much more common feature in the North Pennines landscape, but the remaining woodlands are important for their contribution to the landscape and for the biodiversity which they support.
There are approximately 5,000 hectares of woodland in the North Pennines AONB.
Ancient and semi-natural woodland
There are 930 hectares of ancient and semi-natural woodland, much of which occurs in steep gills, which have been difficult to graze with sheep or clear for agriculture. Others are found along river valleys, particularly the Allen and South Tyne. Four principal types are found in the North Pennines: upland mixed ash woods, upland oak woods, wet woodland, and conifer plantations. Conifer plantations make up a substantial proportion of the woodland cover of the AONB. Some of the conifer plantations support red squirrel populations.
Juniper scrub is also an internationally important feature in Teesdale and Allendale. Juniper is one of Britain’s few native evergreen shrubs and Juniper scrub is an increasingly scarce and fragmented habitat.