Forestry operations at Great Plantation

Updated 24th August 2021

Great Plantation is a working woodland producing sustainable timber. We will be working here from 6 September until the end of the month. This page provides more information about the work we're doing.

What is happening?

Sections of the wood where the trees have grown very dense will be thinned. By removing selected trees in these areas, we will 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 will ultimately produce 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 will be closed to public access while we are working. 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 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 are working 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 have 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 will continue to check for wildlife while working and will 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.