Parkend Walk and Blakeney Hill Walk forest plan

Parkend Walk and Blakeney Hill Walk forest plan

About Parkend Walk and Blakeney Hill Walk

Parkend Walk and Blakeney Hill Walk is a mixed coniferous and broadleaved woodland that covers 2,600 hectares and lies mainly within the east side of the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire.

The woodland and open habitats provide a rich mosaic for a wide variety of wildlife and flora, including adders, a selection of lepidoptera, bats and lichen along with a stable population of goshawk, fallow deer and wild boar. The recent reintroduction of pine martens will hopefully help control grey squirrel numbers, and soon there will be a second beaver release to help reduce the risk of flooding downstream.

There are several watercourses as well as ponds and lakes which all feed into the River Severn. The plan area contains significant ancient woodland character with features like older stands of oak and sweet chestnut which are capable of producing quality hardwood.

Management objectives

The aims of management at Parkend Walk and Blakeney Hill Walk, in no particular order, are:

  • protect and enhance open habitats, ancient and semi-natural woodland, and their associated species which is in keeping with the surrounding landscape.
  • provide opportunities for informal public use and enjoyment.
  • protect the historic environment.
  • generate timber to suit a variety of current and changing markets.
  • increase resilience to future changes in climate and pests and diseases.
  • restore and manage sites of special scientific interest, scheduled monuments and key wildlife species.

What we’ll do

Over the coming decades, low impact silvicultural systems will be favoured over clearfelling; although clearfelling will still play a valuable role in helping achieve our objectives.

For example, where certain diseases take hold, felling can be statutory and is often the best means of maintaining a healthy forest environment. Another example would be felling to expand and protect areas of wet woodland and open habitat. Those areas that are clearfelled and due to be restocked will be done so carefully through means of planting and, where appropriate, encouraging natural regeneration.

Priority watercourses will see conifers being removed with an increase of native broadleaf such as alder, aspen, and willow whilst integrating varying degrees of open habitat. Since the successful beaver release at Greathough Brook above Lydbrook, some of these sites could become future release areas for more beavers.Through the implementation of this forest plan, areas of priority habitat e.g. wet woodland and wet open habitat will be expanded to protect them. Other habitats will also be better linked, that will provide priority species like adder and certain species of lepidoptera, with more space to thrive and grow into.

This will see an increase in overall permeability that will include the start of regenerating and connecting existing areas of stored coppice within Middleridge and Staple Edge.

The inclusion of improved connectivity within the plan and the range of habitats will continue to increase the diversity of ecology within the area by:

  • increasing the quantity and quality of deadwood.
  • expanding the suite of tree species being planted.
  • underplanting mature woodland with a variety of species.
  • improving the transition from open habitat to woodland habitat.
  • improving the structure along ride sides.
  • enhancing the quality of internal landscaping through all the above.

All of this will make for a much richer and robust woodland character that will adapt better to future effects of changes in climate.