Sence Valley Forest Plan
The Sence Valley Forest Plan (FP) summarises proposals by the Forestry Commission for the management of Sence Valley (109.9ha), Kelham Bridge (26ha), Mill Hill Wood (7ha), David Taylor Wood (3.5ha) and Heather Wood (10.9ha).
As part of the Forestry Commission Centenary celebrations that take place in 2019 an additional 48ha of arable land has now been purchased on the northside of Sence Valley increasing the Sence Valley site from 61.9ha to 109.9ha . The new woodland will be planted in 2019 with a mixture of conifer and broadleaves to showcase how sustainable forest management can be practiced and helps deliver an economically valuable timber resources while also delivering social and environmental benefits for years to come.
The FP lies within Leicestershire and South Derbyshire Coalfield landscape character area (LCA) which comprises of gently undulating sequence of mudstones and sandstones with seatearths and coal seams, which strongly influences both the physical and cultural patterns of the landscape. This is a landscape in continuing transformation, in part assisted by the regeneration initiative of The National Forest that covers most of the LCA.
The main objectives for the Sence Valley Forest Plan will be:
- Diversify the current forest structure through the introduction of a thinning/felling programme and enrichment planting.
- Use a cutting programme on the grassland and scrub habitats sympathetic to the habitats requirements of the flora and fauna and maximise the available feeding and nesting habitats.
- Within the new woodland to be planted in 2019 use a variety of conifers interspersed by small blocks of single species broadleaves to provide strong visual changes in colour and texture for visitors and a wide variety of woodland habitats and cover for wildlife.
- Manage the wetland habitats for the benefit of wildlife and to improve water quality in the River Sence.
- Use a variety of silvicultural techniques to maintain soil structure, stability and site infrastructure.
- Identify, retain and recruit Trees of Special Interest and increase deadwood habitats.
- Emphasis on creating a safe welcoming environment to be enjoyed by local families and visitors to the area
- Sympathetically design appropriately scaled interventions to improve and maintain the visual integration of the forest.
- Provide public facilities on site to ensure easy access for quiet recreation activities.
- Work with and support local businesses to provide public services on site.
- Enable local people to develop their skills and their potential employability, through volunteer opportunities and training.
- Production of commercial conifers and broadleaves managed on a sustainable basis to improve future timber revenues and diversify species to mitigate against the impacts of pest, disease and climate change.
- Introduction of new species to help mitigate against the impact of climate change, pests and diseases and allow mixed broadleaf and conifer stands to develop.
- Seek opportunities to develop appropriate income streams that will enable us to continue managing sites in a sustainable way.
What we'll do
The plan details management operations including approved felling and restocking for the 10 years to 2029, with outline proposals for a 50 year period.
The two fields to the northern edge of Sence Valley will be planted up around a network of rides and open space. The existing young woodlands will begin to be thinned out to provide space for the crowns of the trees to develop and opportunities to increase species diversity. Clearfell operations will take place to open up three key view points and to begin the first phase of removal of Corsican pine that is now diseased.
In addition to these defined operations, thinning of both conifers and broadleaves will begin during the plan period with conifers been thinned on a 5 year cycle and broadleaves on a 10 year cycle.
The proportions of open space, conifer and broadleaf woodland at the beginning of the plan period are shown in the bar chart. The gradual reduction of conifer cover and the increase in broadleaf woodland and open space expected within the plan period and anticipated over time is indicated in the middle and right hand columns of the chart.