There is a long history of woodland at Auchenharvie: maps from the 18th century show trees in the vicinity of Auchenharvie House. Woodland cover has been largely continuous in that areas since then, but disappeared temporarily in the mid-20th century, when the woodland was felled/coppiced for some reason.

The wood comprises mainly Sycamore. However, there are several Elms at the east end and a good number of young Oak trees are growing at the west of the wood. Willow and Alder are abundant in places, giving the biodiversity in the wood a boost. In the center of the woodland, by the school, there is a relatively well-developed shrub layer of Hawthorn, Elder and Hazel.

Towards the Saltcoats end of the site, the wood becomes scrubbier and there are several areas of interesting grassland. Where the rock of prehistoric sea cliffs reach near to the surface, the soil becomes very shallow and sandy, inhibiting grass growth and thus promoting the growth of wildflowers. Botanically diverse neutral grassland grows here, including plant species such as Bird's-foot Trefoil, Tormentil, Cat's-ear and Devil's-bit Scabious. These plants in turn provide feeding opportunities for a variety of caterpillars and adult insects. The solitary bees Andrena denticulata, Megachile centuncularis and Andrena coitana have been cause here, as has the wasp-mimicking hoverfly, Chrysotoxum festivum.

A good selection of common birds can be found throughout the wood. A breeding bird survey conducted in 2017 recorded 24 species of breeidng bird. The most common species were Wren, Blackbird, Robin, Blackcap and Chaffinch. The less common breeders inlude Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler and Sparrowhawk.

In winter, a different variety of birds can be found, including Goldcrests, Long-tailed Tits, Treecreepers and Siskins - the latter species making use of the two large stands of Alder towards the west end of the wood. The wood receives visits from Buzzards and Grey Squirrels, especially outside the breeding season.

The wood faces several ecological issues. First, three cover is very dense in places, and the dominant tree species, Sycamore, casts a particularly strong shade. The shade suppresses wildflower growth, resulting fewer woodland wildflowers than there otherwise would be. Second, natural succession is turning the remaining patches of biodiverse grassland into scrub and the patches of scrub into woodland. The loss of much of the open Gorse scrub at the west of the wood has resulted in the loss of breeding bird species such as Linnet and Stonechat.

An ecological survey survey of the wood's habitats and bird species can be downloaded here

  • Auchenharvie ecology report
  • Maps of all the breeding bird territories in the wood can be downloaded here

  • Breeding bird territory maps
  • A report on the invertebrates found in and around the wood can be downloaded here

  • Invertebrate survey report