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Cromford and Shining Cliff Forest Plan

About

The Cromford and Shining Cliff Forest Plan (FP) summarises proposals by the Forestry Commission for the management of Cromford (84.7ha) and Shining Cliff Woods (79.1ha) which lie 5km south of Matlock and 17km northwest of Derby respectively.  Both woodlands form prominent features in the local landscape, with the ‘Black Rocks outcrop at Cromford Moor being the highest ground in the local vicinity and Shining Cliff situated adjacent to the A6 that runs between Derby and Manchester.  

The FP lies within the “Derbyshire Peak Fringe and Lower Derwent Landscape character area which forms a picturesque transitional area between the natural beauty of the Peak District National Park to the west and the largely urban, formerly mined Derbyshire Coal Measures to the east.

Shining Cliff Wood is an ancient woodland site designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) notified for the ancient semi-natural oak-birch woodland, and the flora and associated fauna of it’s wet flushes and stream sides. Cromford Moor is classified as secondary woodland and is situated on what was once moorland.

Objectives

The main objectives for the Cromford and Shining Cliff Forest Plan are: 

Environmental

  • Remove invasive conifers and plants from SSSI.
  • Diversify the species and age structure to mitigate against the impacts of climate change, pests and disease.
  • Expand grassland and heathland habitats.
  • Manage the SSSI to bring it into favourable condition.
  • Conserve trees of special interest.
  • Increase deadwood habitats.
  • Conserve wetland habitats and establishing buffer zones.

Economic

  • Produce commercial quality timber from the conifer and broadleaved stands.
  • Look for opportunities to work with other organisations and user groups to deliver a wider range of education and recreation services that may in the future generate income and employment in the local area.
  • Continue to thin crops on a 5 to 10 year cycle to generate regular sources of revenue.
  • Make the economic potential of the forest more resilient in the face of a changing climate.

Social

  • Provide access into the woodlands and continue to work in partnership with Derbyshire County Council’s Countryside Management Service to facilitate this.
  • Ensure the vegetation around the Black Rock is kept open to ensure the Black Rock remains a prominent feature in the landscape.
  • Conserve features of cultural significance.
  • Maintain promoted trails for walkers and orienteering in Cromford Forest.

What we'll do

The plan details management operations including approved felling and restocking for the 10 years to 2027, with outline proposals for a 50 year period.

The Forestry Commission will continue to work towards the restoration and management of the ancient woodland in Shining Cliff and productive conifers in Cromford Forest.  In the next rotation a more diverse mixture of species will be chosen to make stands more resilient to the future impacts from pests, disease and climate change. A combination of clearfell and LISS will be used to provide the best conditions to establish future stands. 

The planned areas of clearfelling, restocking and permanent open space creation during the ten years to 2028 are summarised in the table.

Cromford and Shining Cliff FP table 1

In addition to these defined operations, ongoing thinning and selective felling of both conifers and broadleaves will be carried out in the plan area at five to ten year intervals.

The proportions of open space, conifer and broadleaf woodland at the beginning of the plan period are shown in the bar chart.

cromford and Shining Cliff FP 2018 table 2