Forestry operations at Bellever Forest

Updated 6th October 2021

Bellever Forest is a working woodland producing sustainable timber. We are working here from October until early 2022. This page provides more information about the work we're doing.

Timber stack in the woods

What is happening?

In some parts of the forest, the trees have reached maturity and are ready to be cut down. These areas will be clear felled to remove all the trees at once. At the same time, we will also remove trees that have been damaged by stormy weather. Altogether, we’re working across an area equivalent to around 20 football pitches. Some dead trees will be left standing to provide habitat for invertebrates and bats, and perches for birds of prey. Small branches and broken pieces will be used to build ‘brash mats’ which 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 we will be closing certain areas at times to allow us to work safely. Please follow all signs and closures at all times. These are for your safety, whether or not you can see or hear us working. This will help us to finish working as quickly as possible. Forestry work is very hazardous. A falling tree can weigh several tonnes and hit the ground at nearly 60mph. If a harvesting machine chainsaw snaps, it can fly through the forest like a bullet.

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 will continue to check for wildlife while working and will 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.