Forestry operations at Bellever Forest

Updated 31st January 2022

Bellever Forest is a working woodland producing sustainable timber. Most of our current work has now finished but some timber is awaiting collection. When the ground has had time to dry out, we will be back to reinstate the muddiest tracks. This page provides more information about the recent work.

Tree stumps in the foreground, a block of tall conifer trees to the left, wide open view to the moor beyond

What is happening?

In some parts of the forest, the trees reached maturity and were ready to be cut down. These areas have been clear felled to remove all the trees at once. At the same time, we have removed trees that have been damaged by stormy weather. Altogether, we have worked across an area equivalent to around 20 football pitches. Some dead trees have been left standing to provide habitat for invertebrates and bats, and perches for birds of prey. Small branches and broken pieces were used to build ‘brash mats’ to protect the ground from the heavy harvesting machinery. We will leave the ground to rest for a year or two, before replanting new trees to provide future timber.

All of the timber from Bellever is certified as being sustainably produced and will support local and UK markets.

Can I still visit Bellever Forest?

The most important thing for Forestry England is to keep the public, our staff, and contractors safe. The forest is still open for you to visit but some tracks are muddy in places. Please follow all signs for your safety.

What about the wildlife?

Harvesting trees is an important part of a sustainable forest lifecycle and well managed forests support more wildlife. Bellever Forest is home to a variety of wildlife, including protected birds. Before we start any forestry work, we carry out thorough ecological surveys to check for species such as birds, mammals, rodents, invertebrates, flora, and fungi. We consider these findings against complex factors including tree health, how the ground slopes, soil condition, and likely rainfall when planning work that will support our long-term management plan.

We continue to check for wildlife while working so that we can adapt, pause or suspend work if we find any animal that must be protected. Recently felled forest areas provide excellent breeding habitat for ground-nesting birds, such as nightjar.

Where can I find out more?

You can read our full management plan for Bellever Forest online.