Forestry operations at Stoke Woods

Updated 7th September 2021

Stoke Woods is a working woodland producing sustainable timber. We will be working here this autumn. We don't know exactly when conditions will allow us to start work, but we will update this information as soon as we can confirm dates. This page provides more information about the work we're doing.

What is happening?

Sections of the wood where the broadleaf trees have grown very dense will be thinned. Stoke Woods 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. By removing selected trees in these areas, we will give native broadleaf trees 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.

The timber that we grow here is certified as being sustainably produced.

Can I still visit Stoke Woods?

The most important thing for Forestry England is to keep the public, our staff, and contractors safe. Stoke Woods will be closed to the public for around four weeks while we are working. Please follow all signs, diversions 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?

Well managed forests support more wildlife, and harvesting trees is an important part of a sustainable forest lifecycle. Stoke Woods is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest because of the variety of valuable habitats here. This means it has extra legal protection. 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, Stoke Woods is home to dormice and bats, and at least 40 species of woodland birds breed here.

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. While working, we continue to check for wildlife 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 Stoke Woods in the Mid Devon Forest Plan.