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Wheldrake Forest Plan

About

Wheldrake is an area of 115.7 hectares of mixed woodland where broadleaf species are the dominant component. The woodland is situated approximately 7 kilometres south-east of York. The forest is freehold land secured by the Forestry Commission in the 1950’s with parts having previously been afforested in the 1850’s.

The forest is situated in the Vale of York national character area, characterised by arable cultivation and rivers draining surrounding higher land which then run southwards through the Vale towards the Humber Basin.

At the start of the previous plan, in 2006, the forest was equally represented by conifer and broadleaf species. Over the last plan period the proportion of conifer has gradually reduced.

Objectives

The long term vision for Wheldrake Forest is to maintain the natural heritage sites, consider the selection for alternative main tree species to boost resilience and diversity of the forest.

Environmental

  • Improve the resilience of the natural environment and realise the potential of these woods for nature and wildlife, to be measured by FC systems accordingly.
  • Maintain and improve the ecological, cultural and heritage value of these woods, to be measured by Non-Government organisations and FE systems accordingly.

Social

  • Encourage communities to become involved across these woods, its management and direction through consultation in planning and participation in volunteering.
  • Maintain and improve the forests contribution to the surrounding landscape character by increasing species and structural diversity, to be measured by external and internal fixed-point photography.

Economic

  • Maintain the land within our stewardship under UKWAS certification, to be measured by independent surveillance audits.
  • Improve the economic resilience of these woods from a more diverse range of site appropriate conifer and broadleaf species, to be measured by the Production Forecast and Sales Recording Package.

What we’ll do

The Wheldrake Forest Plan outlines management proposals including felling and restocking for 10 years from 2018 to 2027.

The planned areas of conifer, broadleaf and permanent open space creation during the ten years to 2027 are summarised in the table below.

Habitat type -

(based on principal species established)

Area – hectares

 

  

% age of total area

 

 

Conifer

95.61

No change

Broadleaf

13.64

No change

Temporal and permanent open space

 6.42

No change

In addition to these defined operations, selective thinning and group felling will be carried out on a small scale at five and ten year periods.

We will protect and, where appropriate, enhance all known sites of archaeological and ecological importance and all sites, regardless of their designation, will receive the same level of care during the planning and execution of forest operations. The operation planning system will ensure they are recognised and the proper measures for their protection are in place before work begins.

The development of future areas of broadleaf woodland will look to create a robust network of habitats linking conifer and broadleaf woodland with internal and riparian corridors. Natural regeneration will be the preferred method of establishment with the expectation that birch and willow species predominate.

This table illustrates how the plan will progress:

Felling

Area - hectares

% of total area

Projected volume (m3)

  

 LISS*      2017 - 2026

 

5.80

 

5

 

2500

* As the whole of Wheldrake Wood will be managed using LISS, by definition there will be no clearfelling. Where advanced regeneration is present, canopy gaps up to 0.5 ha will be created to release the regeneration. Where shelterwood strip felling is to be carried out, there will be no felling above this limit in the proposed plan. During the plan period, it is proposed all areas of LISS will receive a silvicultural intervention. As a result of this intervention, the above area of woodland cover will be felled through the processes of group felling and strip shelterwood systems and restocked by direct planting and/or natural regeneration.