Croxton Forest Plan
The plan area covers 714 hectares of Thetford Forest, in the county of Norfolk. The majority of the woodland at Croxton is leasehold with no public access. Thorpes Belt to the north of the block is held as freehold and is open access land.
Croxton forest is part of the Breckland Forest Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for a range of rare flora and fauna, and a Special Protection Area (SPA) for the Woodlark and Nightjar. Most of Croxton forest is planted with pine which is sustainably managed for timber through a cycle of clear felling and replanting, providing habitat for these ground nesting birds. The Devils Punchbowl is also a SSSI within the northern boundary of the Croxton block. It is a symmetrical Breckland mere of geological importance noted for the fluctuating water levels, which often are out of synchronisation with current seasonal climatic patterns.
There is minimal broadleaved woodland present (8%), with the majority situated in roadside belts. Heritage features are found throughout the forest and there is one Scheduled Monument within the plan area known as Mickle Hill.
The management objectives for Croxton are:
•The felling plan should aim to smooth production from crops in cyclic clear fell but also meet market commitments for 2007-11.
•Design felling coupes that are economical to restock.
•Restocking should aim to maximise production but also to increase species and habitat diversity.
•Restock species should take soil PH into account and the threat posed by Red Band Needle Blight.
•Maintain a pleasant woodland environment.
•Reduce the size and shape of felling coupes to fit into the landscape.
•Felling plans should aim for more even distribution of felled area for Woodlark/Nightjar habitat under SPA.
•Link open spaces and widen conservation rides.
•Increase amount of open space to a minimum of 10% of the plan area (UKWAS target)
•Identify a minimum of 1% of the plan area, which is suitable as Natural Reserve (UKWAS target).
•Restructure area in the north of the block to eliminate coupes that are marked as being felled in adjacent felling periods.
What we’ll do
The Croxton plan outlines management proposals including felling and restocking for a period of 70 years, with felling licence approval for operations up until 2018. This approval has now been extended until November 2019.
The areas of clear felling, selective felling and restocking planned for the plan approval period are summarised below.
Clear felling of 92ha of conifers. Restocking 92ha of conifers. Selective felling 40ha of conifers.