Forestry operations at Great Plantation

Updated 9th November 2021

Great Plantation is a working woodland producing sustainable timber. We have recently completed forestry operations and are transporting the last of the timber. We will be back soon to reinstate tracks.

What is happening?

Sections of the wood where the trees have grown very dense have been thinned. By removing selected trees in these areas, we give the remaining trees space to grow to their potential and let more light onto the forest floor. Thinning improves the habitat for important ground flora and the wildlife it supports.

This work has produced over 1500 tonnes of timber for local and national markets. The timber that we grow here is certified as being sustainably produced.

Can I still visit Great Plantation?

The most important thing for Forestry England is to keep the public, our staff, and contractors safe. The wood is open to you to visit, but please be aware that forestry vehicles are still working in the forest. Please follow all signs and instructions at all times, and wait for clear instructions from an operator before passing a working vehicle. This is for your safety, and the safety of the crew. Some of the forest tracks might be muddy as the weather becomes wetter. Our team will be back to reinstate these in due course.

What about the wildlife?

Harvesting helps to maintain woodlands that will thrive well beyond our lifetime and can support a range of 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. For example, Great Plantation is home to protected birds, mammals, and several butterfly species. We have worked in partnership with Butterfly Conservation for many years to improve breeding habitat and interconnected areas of the forest for species such as Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Grizzled Skipper, and Dingy Skipper.

We consider our survey findings against complex factors including tree health, how the ground slopes, soil condition, and likely rainfall when planning forestry work. This thinning in Great Plantation is the conclusion of tree felling that was stopped last year to minimise ground damage. We worked quickly to take advantage of a short window of dry weather at the end of the bird breeding season and before wet winter conditions. We created exclusion zones around key butterfly habitat and hope that we might even see more butterfly food plants coming through next year in the areas where stacked timber has suppressed unwanted plant species. We continue to check for wildlife while working and adapt, pause or suspend work if we find any animal that must be protected.

Where can I find out more?

You can read our full management plan for Great Plantation online. If you have any questions or queries, please contact us and a member of the team will get back to you.