Wharncliffe and Wombwell Forest Plan
The Wharncliffe and Wombwell Forest plan (FP) summarises proposals by Forestry England for the management of Wharncliffe (449ha), Old Park (36ha) and Wombwell (145ha) woods. The FP lies on the outskirts of Sheffield and Barnsley in a transitional area, lying between the more sparce rural landscapes to the west and heavily developed industrial areas to the east (Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Yorkshire Coal fields and the Yorkshire Southern Pennine Fringe natural areas.
The woodlands age structure is quite uniform with 69% of the 325,000 trees aged between 60 and 80 years old with an average yield class of 12 for the conifers and 4 among the broadleaves. 22ha of new woodland was created in the last 12 years at Wombwell and this has now become fully established.
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 biodiversity and maintain the public access facilities.
The main objectives for the Wharncliffe and Wombwell Forest Plan are:
- Adopt silvicultural systems appropriate to the commercial and environmental objectives with the priority to produce quality timber where possible.
- Make the woodland ecosystem more resilient to the impact of climate change, pests and diseases.
- 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
- To provide open access for the public on foot and to develop the recreational potential for other activities appropriate to the area in partnership with other organisations.
- Implement agreed management plans for the Scheduled Ancient Monuments.
- Continue to restore the ancient woodland through the gradual removal of exotic species.
- Keep the SSSI in a favourable condition
- Diversify the age structure of the woodlands as they mature to create a wide variety of habitats for wildlife.
- Increase deadwood habitats and identify future Trees of Special Interest.
What we'll do
The plan details management operations including approved felling and restocking for the 10 years to 2030, with outline proposals for a 50 year period.
Wharncliffe Wood will see a gradual reversion to a woodland dominated by broadleaves, Old Park and Wombwell wood type will remain largely unchanged. Due to the impact of pests and disease the larch will be removed in the plan period and then the Corsican pine will be phased out in the next 10-35 years. Thinning operations will begin in all the woodland areas and these will be designed to remove diseased trees, open up paths and provide adequate space for the remaining trees to grown and develop. Restocking following felling operations will be done through a combination of planting and natural regeneration.