Kinsley Bucknell Purslow and Hopton Forest Plan
The Forest Plan nestles along the southern boundaries of the Shropshire Hills AONB, alongside the Welsh border and is situated in the south-west corner of Shropshire county.
The Forest Plan covers 804Ha of mixed coniferous and broadleaved woodland within the nation's forests and is primarily freehold with 3.1Ha being leasehold. The plan area commands a prominent place within the surrounding landscape with fine views overlooking the Shropshire countryside. Whilst the plan area is highly productive restoration of native woodland is an important objective with 375Ha registered on the Ancient Woodland register as PAW3.
There are no Scheduled Ancient Monuments within the plan area although the area is rich in heritage features such as holloways, wood banks and other boundary features. With the picturesque and scenic landscapes of Shropshire and Offa’s Dyke trail on its doorstep, the plan area enjoys open access across all freehold sites as determined under the Countryside rights of Way Act 2000, being well supported by PRoW and permissive access that cater for horse riders, walkers and mountain bikers. Accounting for less than 1% of the AONB.
Producing around twenty thousand cubic meters of timber over the last 10 years at an average value of £25-28 per cubic meter. 3 47% of the plan area is classed as Plantation on Ancient Woodland site. Mountain bike trails in Hopton & Bucknell include the Pearce XC.
The plan aims to protect and enhance existing habitats through sustainable management that is in context with the wider landscape and character whilst providing a sustainable flow of wood products to market throughout the plan duration.
The objectives of the plan are:
- Deliver well-designed forests in keeping with the local landscape character.
- To protect, enhance and restore areas of ancient woodland in line with the 2005 ‘Keepers of Time’ policy.
- Protect and enhance woodland and open habitats and their associated species.
- The protection and enhancement of veteran trees/trees of special interest (TSI) and recruitment of future generations of veteran trees/TSI.
- The continued production of sustainable and marketable woodland products.
- To conserve, maintain and enhance cultural and heritage assets.
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 2028. The planned areas of clearfelling, restocking and permanent/transient open space creation during the ten years to 2028 are summarised in the chart below.
Crops will be managed for a mixture of objectives including timber production. Some areas will be managed using continuous cover forestry prescriptions so as to create a diverse and resilient forest structure for the future.
It is through the use of clearfelling and thinning that invasive species such as Western Hemlock will be targeted for removal to promote, safeguard and enhance the establishment of native woodland, supported by utilising natural regeneration of native species and by planting. Areas of younger conifer that have not yet reached felling age will be managed to economic rotation before felling or further management through the use of continuous cover systems.
The plan looks to improve provision of open space habitats, especially in Hopton. Implementation and maintenance of environmental corridors will continue to increase the diversity of habitat and the quality of internal landscaping. 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.