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Nagshead and Russells Forest Plan

About

The Nagshead and Russells forest plan covers 1,070 hectares of mixed woods and open land, including several active quarries and mines, in the heart of the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. Most of the area is open access land and is well used by walkers and cyclists.

In Nagshead Nature Reserve, magnificent broad-crowned oaks, planted for timber during the Napoleonic wars, are found alongside tall stands of fast growing conifers, low density planting, wetland, grassland and heath, creating a wonderfully varied landscape. This valuable resource supports local employment in thriving wood industries, as well as traditional livestock grazing, small scale mining and mineral extraction.

In the southern part of the wood, 305 hectares are leased to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and managed in partnership as both working woodland and as a nature reserve. A large part of this reserve is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for the quality of the mature oakwood and its wildlife, some nationally rare.

The Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (GWT) looks after two nature reserves within the plan area: Spion Kop Quarry is noted for its geology and dramatic scenery, and Cannop Bridge Marsh for the wet woodland around Cannop Ponds, which provides habitat for otters as well as a wide range of birds, insects and plants. The ponds are also used by a local fishing club.

Elsewhere, the mosaic of open space, new growth, veteran trees and deadwood benefits ground nesting and hole nesting birds, bats and many other species.

Objectives

Our aim is to maintain and enhance the rich diversity of natural and cultural assets throughout the plan area, alongside the sustainable management of the forest for timber and wood products.

The social, economic and environmental objectives of management here are:

  • to protect and enhance both woodland and open habitats and promote their resilience and adaptation to climate change, pests and disease;
  • to maintain Nagshead SSSI in favourable condition and work to enhance biodiversity in the RSPB and GWT reserves and throughout the wider plan area;
  • to enhance the internal landscape through diversification of the forest structure;
  • to protect heritage features and promote recreational use of the woodland;
  • to continue the sustainable production of marketable wood products;
  • to maintain accreditation under the UK Woodland Assurance Standard.

What we'll do

The forest plan outlines management proposals including felling and restocking over several decades, with felling licence approval for operations up until 2024.

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.

The species composition will remain as 39% conifers, 48% broadleaves, 12% open space and 1% mineral workings in 2014 and 2024.