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Kings Forest Plan

About

The Kings forest plan covers 2333 hectares of Thetford forest, located northwest of Bury St Edmunds, in the county of Suffolk. The whole plan area is held as freehold and the majority is open access land.

Kings forest is part of the Breckland Forest Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) dedicated for a range of rare flora and fauna, and a Special Protection Area (SPA) for the Woodlark and Nightjar. Most of Kings is planted with pine which is sustainably managed for timber through a cycle of clearfelling and replanting, providing habitat for these ground nesting birds. Beeches pit, a Middle Pleistocene archeological site was formerly notified as a separate SSSI. It provides important links between geography, climate, environment and human history of East Anglia.

There is a network of broadleave belts across the forest and around the boundary. Heritage features are found throughout the forest and there are 3 scheduled monuments. These are bowl barrows which are funerary monuments dating from the late Neolithic period to the late bronze age. Management plans for scheduled monuments are agreed with Historic England.

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

Objectives

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 and no more than 10% of coupes

•Where possible, incorporate open space areas as detailed in the Thetford Open Habitat Plan, encouraging distribution of rare flora and fauna.

•Selectively fell around (haloing) Great crested and Smooth newt ponds, to improve breeding habitat and allow sunlight in, encouraging increase and diversity in water flora and fauna.

•Agree Schduled Monument management plans with Historic England.

•Remove selective trees around Beeches Pit to protect underlying archeaology from falling branches and debris. Agree management plans with Natural England.

•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 Kings Forest forest plan outlines management proposals including felling and restocking for a period of 70 years, with felling licence approval for operations up until 2026.

The areas of clearfelling, restocking and open space creation planned for the 10 years to 2026 are summarised below.

Clear felling of 231ha of conifers. Restocking of 231ha of conifers. Selective felling of 25ha conifers and 59ha of broadleaves.

The species composition will also change from 77% conifer, 13% broadleaf and 10% open space in 2016 to 81% conifer, 12% broadleaf and 7% open space in 2086.