Fineshade Wood Forest Plan

Fineshade Wood Forest Plan


The Fineshade Forest Plan (FP) summarises proposals by Forestry England for the management of Fineshade Wood (499ha), Wakerley Wood (261ha) and Southwick Wood (390ha).

Each of the three woodlands comprises of a mixture of broadleaved and coniferous woodland with extensive areas of semi-mature stands and high value timber crops. 50% of the FP area is secondary woodland (new woodlands), 15% ancient woodlands (continuously wooded since 1600) and 35% plantation on ancient woodland sites (PAWS). Ecologically the woodlands are very diverse, partially due to the wide network of rides and open space. Forestry England is working in conjunction with Butterfly Conservation and the Wildlife Trust for Northampton, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire to manage the woodland edge habitats, where a wide variety of Lepidoptera and birds species have been recorded across the FP area. 


Principle management objectives for the FP will be to: 


  • Convert the Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS) through the gradual removal of exotic species and the reintroduction of broadleaves.
  • Use a cutting programme on the forest roads, grassland and scrub habitats that are sympathetic to the 2300 species recorded in the woodlands.
  • Work with Butterfly Conservation and the Back from the Brink project team to create new habitats for adders and the Chequered Skipper.
  • Work towards bringing Wakerley Spinney Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) back into a favourable condition.
  • Manage the wetland habitats for the benefit of wildlife.
  • Identify, retain and recruit Trees of Special Interest and increase deadwood habitats.
  • Use a variety of silvicultural techniques to maintain soil structure, stability and site infrastructure.


  • Maintain public facilities on site to ensure easy access for quiet recreation activities.
  • Work with and support local businesses in the provision of provide public services on site.
  • Enable local people to develop their skills and their potential employability, through volunteer opportunities and training.
  • Incorporate sympathetic designs that will increase the visual enjoyment people experience when visiting the working forest

Economic Growth

  • Production of commercial conifers and broadleaves managed on a sustainable basis to improve future timber revenues and diversify species to mitigate against the impacts of pest, disease and climate change.
  • Use a variety of Silvicultural systems including singletree selection systems in oak stands where the tree will be grown to market diameter.
  • Introduce new species to help mitigate against the impact of climate change, pests and diseases and allow mixed broadleaf and conifer stands to develop.

What we'll do

The plan details management operations including approved felling and restocking for the 10 years to 2029, with outline proposals for a 50 year period.

Management operation over the next 10 years will focus on the removal of ash that has been infected by Chalara, Corsican Pine now infected with Dothistroma and the restructuring of the dense regeneration of young stands created following extensive felling that took place in the mid 1990’s.

Area (ha)ConifersBroadleaves
Restocking  *19.378.6
Open Space 0.5

In addition to these defined operations, thinning of both conifers and broadleaves will begin during the plan period with conifers been thinned on a 5 year cycle and broadleaves on a 10 year cycle.