Forestry operations at Great Plantation
Great Plantation is a working woodland producing sustainable timber. We are working here until the end of November 2020. 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 produce over 1500 tonnes of timber for local and national markets. The timber that we grow here is certified by FSC and PEFC as being sustainably produced. This high-quality, UK grown timber is highly sought after.
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 all public access during the working week (Monday-Friday) but will be reopened for you to visit at weekends. 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 has been planned outside bird nesting season and outside critical times for dormice. 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?