Gilling Forest Plan

Gilling Forest Plan

Gilling Forest is part of a network of forests managed by Forestry England (FE), Yorkshire Forest District, located within the York Beat. It is situated approximately 7km south of Ampleforth within the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The more notable changes in species composition over the past ten years has been the reduction in larch (European, Japanese, Hybrid) and an increase in broadleaf species (birch, oak, ash, willow, alder). Under the previous plan clearfelling has been carried out at Grimston and Coulton Woods at a number of locations, creating softer and more irregular external boundaries. To date, recent felling of phytophthora infected larch across Park Wood has seen an increase in the proportion of broadleaf woodland on this ancient woodland site, diversifying and softening the visual impact of conifer woodland.


The main objectives of the plan are;


  • Encourage communities to become involved across these woods, its management and direction through consultation in planning and participation in volunteering. To be measured by FC systems.
  • Maintain and improve the woodlands contribution to the landscape character within the Howardian Hills character types. To be measured by fixed-point photography.


  • Maintain the cultural and ecological heritage value of these woods, to be measured by Historic England, Howardian Hills AONB and FC systems.
  • Expand, improve and maintain the cultural and heritage value of these woods, to be measured by Historic England, Natural England, NYMNP Authority and FC systems.


  • Maintain the land within our stewardship under UKWAS certification, to be measured by independent surveillance audits.
  • Improve the economic resilience of these woods from a more diverse range of site appropriate conifer and broadleaf species, to be measured by FC systems.

What we will do

The plan details management operations including approved felling and restocking for the 10 years through until 2031, with outline proposals for a 50 year period.

Appropriate scale felling across the coniferous parts of the forest will continue the process of restructuring, moving away from even-aged, single species stands to a more mixed conifer/broadleaf woodland. Over time lower impact silvicultural systems with associated smaller-scale felling will contribute toward a more varied and intimate internal forest landscape, where simple and complex stand structures create a more diverse visitor experience within the forest.

Ancient woodland sites planned for conversion to broadleaf woodland will be used to describe those areas where a range of species will be regenerated and will comprise at least 80% native broadleaf species of the woodland component mix. A small proportion of conifer species will be accepted where this does not compromise meeting the plan objectives.

The planned areas of clearfelling, regeneration felling and restocking during the ten years to 2031 are summarised in the table.












Lower Impact Silvicultural Systems regeneration felling













The current proportions of conifer, broadleaf and open space habitat and projected in 50 years’ time as shown below.

Habitat type -

(based on principal species established)

Area – hectares

   2020               2070

% age of total area

     2020              2070




   394.1             313.3


       73                 58




   112.6             169.9


       21                 31

Open inc. agriculture, felled, riparian corridors, roadside/ride side verges etc

    35.1              59.0

         6                 11