Long Mynd Forest Plan
About the site
Forestry England’s land on the Long Mynd consists of a single block of 226 hectares of secondary woodland, located five miles northeast of Craven Arms, and four miles southwest of Church Stretton in Shropshire. The site lies on exposed, elevated ground within the Shropshire Hills AONB, and is adjacent to the Long Mynd SSSI, where the main habitat of interest is upland dwarf shrub heath.
There is a Bronze Age bowl barrow (scheduled monument), and several public rights of way crossing the site, which is designated as open access. Species of interest that are found within the woodland include crossbills which nest in the conifers, and nightjars which benefit from additional temporary open space created by clearfells.
The forest currently comprises 84% conifers (predominantly Sitka spruce, with average yield class of 14), 5% broadleaves and 11% open space. Much of the open space is along the western and southern edges of the site, where it provides a graded transition from high forest to the neighbouring heathland. Other partly open and dynamic habitat is found alongside minor streams, which run off the plateau down to the east, and on road and ride sides.
Long Mynd management objectives
The aims of management at Long Mynd are to:
- generate timber to suit a variety of current and changing markets.
- increase resilience to future changes in climate and pests and diseases.
- improve ecological conditions.
- protect the historic environment.
- provide opportunities for informal public use and enjoyment.
What we'll do
Forestry England’s land on the Long Mynd will remain a productive forest, planted mainly with conifers that grow quickly and efficiently, absorbing carbon and offering shelter for wildlife as they grow, and ultimately providing a sustainable long-term supply of timber. Although Sitka spruce will continue to be an important crop, we will plant it in mixtures with other species in each restock to increase diversity and resilience to future changes in climate and pests and diseases.
Taking into account wind risk and accessibility, we will identify suitable crops to thin, which will increase structural diversity, and allow some stands to grow to an older age. Some areas of conifers will be retained beyond economic maturity to provide the mature habitat favoured by goshawks and long-eared owls.
We are committed to the expansion and ongoing management of our dynamic habitats – we’re excited about the potential of the western edge of the forest to provide a transition from high forest, through scattered trees, into heathland, and we will be looking for opportunities to open up riparian areas and ridesides in order to increase connectivity between areas of dynamic habitat. At the northern edge of the site, we will soften the edge where the forest meets the neighbouring SSSI by not replacing any failed trees in the recently planted crops – this will create gaps which can remain open or into which scrub and natural regeneration will develop.