Updated 6th April 2022

Great Wood is a working forest producing sustainable timber. We have been working in the forest since autumn 2021 and are due to finish this spring. This page provides more information about the work we're doing.

What is happening?

We have thinned trees across the Cockercombe area in the south of Great Wood, which is equivalent to around 118 football pitches. We removed selected trees to give the remaining trees more space to grow to their potential, and let more light onto the forest floor. This improves the habitat for ground flora and the wildlife it supports. While we were working there, we also removed some trees from the Cockercombe Camp scheduled monument to help maintain its condition.

The area of the forest we are working in is classified as a Plantation on Ancient Woodland Site (PAWS), which means that we are managing it back to the way it would have been several hundred years ago. This process will take many years. PAWS status means we won’t replant conifers in this area. As the remaining trees mature, we will continue to harvest them until the area is ready to regenerate with native broadleaf trees, such as oak and birch.

All of the timber from Great Wood is certified as being sustainably produced and will support local and UK markets.

Can I still visit Great Wood?

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 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. 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 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 Wood online.