Coatham and South Burdon Forest Plan

Coatham and South Burdon Forest Plan


Coatham and South Burdon is a combined area of 279.1 hectares of mixed & coniferous woodlands. oatham is situated 2.5 miles south-west of Stockton-On-Tees and South Burdon is a little over 2 miles east of Darlington, both forming part of the Cleveland beat in the Forestry Commission’s Yorkshire Forest District.

The land is relatively new to the Forestry Commission with the land at Coatham being acquired in 1997/1998 and South Burdon in 200 respectively. The woods consists of previously cropped agricultural fields sitting within a flat landscape, dominated by large fields growing arable crops and improved grassland in a rectilinear pattern.

Broadleaf is the dominant species group across both woods with 57% planted area at Coatham and 84% at South Burdon. Conifers account for 43% of the planted area at Coatham with Corsican pine (40%) by far the greatest proportion and 16% conifer at South Burdon.

Coatham and South Burdon sit centrally within the Tees Lowlands National Character Area (NCA), bordered by Darlington to the west and Stockton-on-Tees and Middlesbrough to the east. The car park at Coatham provides a popular starting point for walkers and young families alike to utilise the network of trails, rides and public rights of way that are utilised on a frequent basis throughout the year. Public usage at South Burdon is currently less developed but as these are freehold woods where there is the potential to develop recreational use for people and businesses where these do not conflict with the plans aims and objectives.


The overall plan and long term vision for Cotham and South Burdon is to maintain the land and cultural heritage value of the woodland in accordance with UKWAS certification and increase the levels of continuous cover forest.  


  • Maintain the land within our stewardship under UKWAS certification.
  • Maintain the cultural and heritage value of these woods


  • Provide informal woodland based recreational opportunities for people and business
  • Encourage communities to become involved across these woods, its management and direction though consultation in planning and participation in volunteering.


  • Improve the economic resilience of these woods from a more diverse range of site appropriate conifer and broadleaf species
  • Encourage and support appropriate business activity in support of other objectives.

What we'll do

The Coatham and South Burdon Forest Plan outlines management proposals, including selective felling, for several years until 2024.

Planned areas for conifer, broadleaf and open space at the end of the plan are outlined in the following table:

Habitat type        (based on principal species established)


Area – hectares


% age of total area







Open space

(i.e. meadow/grassland)



We will sustainably harvest timber both from thinnings and small group-felling, and where appropriate develop broadleaf stands to increase their contribution to timber production. These operations will be planned and controlled to ensure due regard for all other objectives of management.

All sites, regardless of their designation, will receive the same level of care during the planning and execution of forest operations. The operational planning system will ensure they are recognised and the proper measures for their protection are in place before work begins. This planning system also ensures that, where possible, opportunities to enhance the condition of archaeological and historic interest are taken during routine forest work.

Opportunities will arise during this plan period to increase species and structural diversity at Coatham. South Burdon will continue to move toward canopy closure and it is unlikely any felling activity will be carried out during this plan period.