Forestry operations at Cookworthy Forest

Forestry operations at Cookworthy Forest

Updated 17th August 2023

Cookworthy Forest is a working woodland producing sustainable timber. We are working here during autumn 2023. This page provides more information about the work we're doing.

What is happening?

We are tidying up several areas of windblown trees that were damaged during storms last year. Where this has happened, we will remove all the trees at once (clearfell) and allow the ground to rest before we plant new trees. In some areas, we will let the seeds in the soil regenerate to create a more diverse mix of tree species.

Clearfelled areas can look stark to begin with but the ground soon ‘greens up’ and becomes important habitat for species including birds, small mammals, reptiles, and invertebrates.

Can I still visit Cookworthy Forest?

Cookworthy Forest is open to visitors throughout the forestry work but there may be times when we need to close or divert tracks to allow us to work safely nearby. We will work hard to keep disruption to a minimum and you can help us to finish working as quickly as possible by following all signs and instructions from our staff and contractors.

It is essential for the safety of our visitors, staff, contractors, and volunteers that everyone follows all signs, diversions, and closures at all times, whether or not you can see or hear us working. 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 sustainable forest management and well managed forests support more wildlife. 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. This enables us to identify ecological constraints such as the presence of European Protected Species and Schedule 1 protected birds, which affect the time of year when certain operations can be carried out. We consider our findings against complex factors including tree health, how the ground slopes, soil condition, and likely rainfall when planning forestry work. While working, we continue to check for wildlife and adapt, pause, or suspend work if necessary.

Where can I find out more?

You can read our management plans for Cookworthy Forest in the West Devon Forest Plan.