Forestry operations at Haugh Woods
Our contractors will reinstate the paths affected by the recent essential forest operations in Haugh SSSI, once the ground is drier.
Some of the paths have become muddy due to the heavy machinery needed for the tree felling.
The work was carried out during the winter months, which are generally wetter and muddier, in order to avoid bird nesting season.
We will update this page when we know the works start date.
We will be timber harvesting in the North and South of Haugh Wood, near Mordiford, from November 2023.
The works will impact some of our trails and access points, this page provides more information about the work we are doing and why.
What is happening?
In line with our West District forest plans, contractors working for Forestry England will be harvesting in the North and South of Haugh Woods over the next couple of months. This is to finish off the works that began in 2021 and were paused due to various constraints such as ecological restrictions and ground conditions. The work will start the week of 6 November in the South and then move up to the North of Haugh Woods.
There will be planned clearfells and heavy thinning of the conifer areas, as part of an ongoing PAWS (Planted Ancient Woodland Site) restoration to increase native broadleaf tree species. Alongside this we will be creating wildlife corridors by opening up the ride side and glade edges. This will increase light to the forest floor and will help to link up existing populations of butterflies and moths in Haugh Woods. This habitat work is part of our ongoing management of the SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). We are working with Natural England to improve the woodland for invertebrates and flowering plants.
The works are due to continue throughout the winter and into 2024. You will notice a significant operational presence in the woodland with banks persons, harvesting machinery, signage and timber stacks. We do our best to use existing extraction routes to minimise the damage to the forest floor, which is inevitable with the scale of machinery that must be used. These will be reinstated where necessary when the work is finished.
Harvesting contracts can take time, and work may be paused due to the many constraints that we have to work around. Please bear with us as we carry out this work with the aim of minimising inconvenience to all site users.
What happens to the timber?
The timber produced by this operation will go for a variety of uses into the construction industry, furniture making and biomass wood fuel. Some crown wood will be left on site as wildlife habitat, known as ‘dead wood’ to help return nutrients to the soil. Local volunteers will help to gather it up into dead hedges to protect against deer predation of the coppiced hazel regrowth.
Will you be replanting?
The clearfell area will, in time, be replenished through natural regeneration of native broadleaved tree species. This will be monitored and if natural regeneration is not as successful as hoped, then native broadleaved species will be planted.
Can I still visit this woodland?
Yes - the woodland will remain open throughout our harvesting operations, the most important thing for us is to keep the public, our staff, and contractors safe. We will have safety and operational signage displayed, diversions, closures, and banks persons in position where needed. This is for your safety, whether you can see or hear us working, it is important you read and listen to all instructions very carefully and obey all instruction.
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?
Well managed forests are able to support more wildlife, and harvesting trees is an important part of a sustainable forest lifecycle. Before we start any forestry work, we carry out ecological surveys to check for species such as birds, mammals, rodents, invertebrates, native plants such as bluebells and fungi. We also consider these 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. While working, we continue to check for wildlife and will adapt, pause or suspend work if we find any animal that must be protected.
For this operation we have timed the work to take place after the main flowering season of ancient woodland flora to minimise disturbance in the SSSI. We aim to complete the work before the bird nesting season but if not completed then the contract will be temporarily suspended
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