East Devon Forest Plan

About

The East Devon Forest Plan area is situated south of Honiton between the regional towns of Ottery St Mary and Lyme Regis. The Plan area is made up of a number of scattered and fragmented woodland blocks close to the East Devon coast.

The forests are part of the public forest estate and stretch from East Hill in the west to Wyld Warren in the east.

The public forest here is a predominantly secondary woodland having been planted with conifer to address the national timber shortage of the early Twentieth Century. Some small areas of remnant ancient semi-natural woodland and areas of plantation on ancient woodland do remain and are either made up of oak and birch with ash and alder or coniferised with Douglas fir or Sitka spruce. Most of the Plan area is actively managed to provide timber for local and national businesses, and to improve the quality of the remaining trees. The Plan area is rich with diverse ecological habitat such as Priority Wet Woodland and Lowland Mixed Deciduous Woodland used by otter, dormice, bats and nightjar as well as other important flora and fauna species.

The entirety of Morganhayes, Parehayne, Wyld Warren, Whitty and Hole Common and parts of Core Copse, Ofwell and Trinity Hill are all freehold open access. These woodlands and the rights of way which bisect them are popular for quiet cycling, riding and walking with views to the Jurassic Coast.

Objectives

The core aim of the Plan is to begin to progress the 50 Year Vision by producing woodlands with increased conservation, recreation and landscape benefits whilst maintaining a viable timber output. The long term aim of management is to continue to sustainably produce timber whilst providing a forest rich in wildlife, attractive to people and increasingly resilient to climate, pests and diseases. The social, economic and environmental objectives of management are:

• The continued production of sustainable and marketable woodland products.

• To conserve, maintain and enhance cultural and heritage assets.

• Protect and enhance woodland and open habitats and their associated species

− To protect and enhance areas of Ancient Semi-natural Woodland and restore areas of PAWs in line with ‘Keepers of Time’.

• The provision and maintenance of recreation facilities.

• Deliver well-designed forests that both protect and enhance the internal and external landscape in keeping with the AONB landscape character.

What We’ll Do

The current plan outlines management proposals including felling and restocking over several decades, with felling licence approval for operations up until 2029.

The Plan makes provision to ensure proposals are in keeping the AONB ambition to manage conifer plantations for sustainable timber production, recreation and wildlife, creating new green links to surrounding semi-natural habitats. Implementation and maintenance of an environmental corridor system will continue to increase diversity of habitat and internal landscaping.

The planned areas of clearfelling, restocking and permanent open space creation during the ten years to 2029 are summarised below.

Clearfelling of 102 ha conifers and 10.8ha broadleaves. Restocking/regeneration of 86.9ha of conifer, 10.8ha of broadleaves and 15.1ha of open space.

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 species composition will also change from 62% conifer, 33% broadleaf and 5% open space in 2019 to 60% conifer, 33% broadleaf and 7% open space in 2029.