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Hockham Forest Plan

About

The Hockham forest plan covers 834 hectares of Thetford forest in the county of Norfolk. Most of the plan area is held as freehold and is open access land.

Hockham 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 Hockham is planted with pine which is sustainably managed for timber through a cycle of clearfelling and replanting, providing habitat for these ground nesting birds. Cranberry Rough is a SSSI in it's own right designated for it's wetland fen and swamp communities as well as birds and insects.

There are significant areas of broadleaved woodland located in Brickiln covet, Hills & Holes and tree belts bordering the forest boundary. Heritage features are found throughout the forest including prehistoric flints, parish boundary banks, warren banks and low lying ditches previously used to control water (water meadows).

A PDF of the full plan can be found in the related documents section of this page.

Objectives

The management objectives for Hockham are:

Environmental

•The felling plans should aim for an even distribution of felled area for Woodlark/Nightjar habitat and contribute to maintaining a minimum area of 12,757ha in cyclic clearfell as required under the SPA designation.

•Incorporate open space areas as detailed in the Thetford open habitat plan where possible, connecting pingos through a network of rides, encouraging distribution of rare flora and fauna.

•Open Pingos in Queens Close and Frost Common by selective felling around ponds (haloing), allowing sunlight to reach ponds, encouraging increase and diversity in water flora and fauna.

•Maintain and improve cultural and heritage value of the land by protecting sensitive heritage features highlighted through the operational site assessment process.

Social

•Create a pleasant natural environment for the public to enjoy outdoor recreation in a rural woodland setting.

•Enable everyone, everywhere, to connect with the nations trees and forests, so that they understand their importance and act positively to safeguard forests in the future.

Economic

•Maintain the land within our stewardship under UK Woodland Assurance Scheme (UKWAS) certification by meeting standards detailed in UKWAS third edition.

•Improve economic resiliance of our forests by increasing species diversity through restock programmes to protect future timber supplies and biomass.

•The felling plan should aim to smooth production from crops in cyclic clearfell but also meet market commitments.

What we'll do

The Hockham plan outlines management proposals including felling and restocking for a period of 70 years, with felling license approval for operations up until 2026.

The areas of clearfelling, selective felling and restocking  planned for the 10 years to 2026 are summarised below.

Clearfelling of 66ha of conifers. Restocking of 66ha of conifers. Selective felling of 15 ha of conifers and 44ha of broadleaves.

The species composition will also change from 64% conifer, 23% broadleaf and 13% open space in 2016 to 52% conifer, 39% broadleaf and 9% open space in 2086.