St Helens Forest Plan
The St Helens Forest Plan (FP) summaries proposals by the Forestry Commission for the management of six woodlands, Sutton Manor (62ha), Wheatacre (22ha), Whiston Wood (20ha), Brickfield & Red Quarry (12ha), Maypole (13ha) and Upper Moss Side (73ha) which lie in The Mersey and Bold Forest Park, Merseyside. The plan area of 226.8ha lies 11km east of Liverpool and 4km south of St Helens with easy access from the M62.
The St Helens woodlands are all new woodlands planted since 2000 and are dominated by mixed broadleaved woodlands with small areas of evergreen conifers planted on ex-agricultural and mineral sites. The management plans objectives will be to grow commercial crops on a sustainable basis, diversify the forest structure through thinning and new planting, increase the number of Trees of Special interest and deadwood habitats, improve the value of the woodlands for butterflies and maintain the public access facilities.
The woodlands currently provide a valuable resource for local communities for quiet recreational activities and with the enhance views of the ‘Dream’ as the forest mature will attract visitors from wider afield long into the future.
The main objectives for the St Helens Forest Plan are:
• Production of commercial conifers and broadleaves managed on a sustainable basis
• 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
• Additional planting to increase the size of some stands, increase structural diversity, colour and texture by planting a mixture of species in blocks so that they create strong focal points
• Emphasis on creating a safe welcoming environment to be enjoyed by local families and visitors to the area
• Manage existing facilities in partnership with local authority and Bold Forest Park to facilitate public access and enjoyment.
• Conserve viewpoints of the Dream
• Diversify woodlands as they mature to create a wide variety of habitats for wildlife.
• Increase deadwood habitats and identify future Tree of Special Interest.
• Vary grass cutting programme to increase available feed and nesting habitats.
What we'll do
The plan details management operations including approved felling and restocking for the 10 years to 2027, with outline proposals for a 50 year period.
The young woodlands will not change greatly during the plan approval period and no major harvesting will take place. Through the diversification of species, replacement of diseased trees and some new planting the area of woodland cover will increase slightly and open space be reduced. The new planting will comprise largely of evergreen conifers and this will be the only measurable change in the design plan area over the next 10 year period.
Felling of 0.5ha of conifers, and 0ha of broadleaves. Restocking of 19.3ha of conifers and 0ha of broadleaves.
In addition to these defined operations, thinning and 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.