Swaffham Forest Plan

About

The plan area covers 1330 hectares of Thetford Forest, in the county of Norfolk. Around 733 hectares (55%) of the forest is on leasehold land owned by 3 separate landowners who retain the sporting rights and do not permit access for the general public.

Swaffham forest is part of the Breckland Forest Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for a range of rare flora and fauna, and a Special Protection Area (SPA) for the Woodlark and Nightjar. The majority of the forest is dominated by conifer species (90%) which is sustainably managed for timber through a cycle of clearfelling and replanting, providing habitat for these ground nesting birds.

There is minimal broadleaved woodland present (8%) situated primarily in the western block, mostly as strips and roadside belts 20-30m wide. The largest single block of broadleaves is the 7 hectares of Oak at Narford Wood, which is a significant feature pre-dating  the conifer woodland that surrounds it.

Heritage features are found throughout the forest and there is one Scheduled Monument within the plan area which is a tumulus.

Objectives

The management objectives for Swaffham are:

Economic

•The felling plan should aim to smooth production from crops in cyclic clearfell but also meet market commitments for 2007-11.

•Design felling coupes that are economical to restock.

•Restocking should aim to maximise production but also to increase species and habitat diversity.

•Restock species should take soil PH into account and the threat posed by Red Band Needle Blight.

Social

•Maintain a pleasant woodland environment for use by local dog walkers and horse riders.

•Reduce the size and shape of felling coupes to fit into the landscape.

Environmental

•Felling plans should aim for more even distribution of felled area for Woodlark/Nightjar habitat under SPA.

•Link open spaces and widen conservation rides.

•Increase amount of open space to a minimum of 10% of the plan area (UKWAS target)

What we’ll do

 The Swaffham plan outlines management proposals including felling and restocking for a period of 70 years, with felling licence approval for operations up until 2019.

The areas of clear felling, selective felling and restocking planned for the 10 years to 2019 are summarised below.

Clearfelling of 145ha of conifers. Restocking of 145ha of conifers. Selective felling of 42ha of conifers.