Rendlesham Forest Plan

About:

The plan area covers 1432 hectares and lies within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths National Character Area and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The whole plan area is held as freehold and is open access land. Rendlesham Forest Centre is the focal point for the estimated 100,000 visitors who come to the area each year. Situated in the heart of the forest it provides a number of recreation facilities including car parks, toilets, waymarked walking and cycling trails, adventure playground and orienteering. Educational visits, both ranger and self-led, are run here in partnership with the Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

Rendlesham forest is part of the Sandlings Forest Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Protection Area (SPA) to conserve the breeding habitat for Woodlark and Nightjar. The majority of Rendlesham forest is planted with pine. The whole of the Sandlings was devastated in the 1987 storm and much of Rendlesham forest had to be cleared and replanted. This has led to the relatively young even aged forest present today.  The timber is managed through a cycle of clear felling and replanting, providing habitat for the Woodlark and Nightjar whilst also helping to break up the age structure of the forest. Due to the 1987 storm there is currently limited economically mature timber resulting in reduced felling rates until 2027. Therefore, breeding habitat for Woodlark and Nightjar is provided through heathland areas maintained by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust and RSPB.

There are significant areas of broadleaved woodland, predominantly wet woodland located along the Tang and Butley river valleys managed through continuous cover systems.

Heritage features are found throughout the forest and there are 4 Scheduled Monuments in the south of the plan area.

Objectives:

The management objectives for Rendlesham are:

Economic

The felling plan should aim to smooth production from crops in cyclic clear fell but also meet market commitments for 2008-11.

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, cyclists and horse riders.

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

Restructure areas with coupes that are marked as being felled in adjacent felling periods.

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)

Identify a minimum of 1% of the plan area, which is suitable as Natural Reserve (UKWAS target).

What we’ll do:

The Rendlesham plan outlines management proposals including felling and restocking for a period of 70 years, with felling licence approval for operations up until 2018.

The areas of clear felling, selective felling and restocking planned for the plan approval period are summarised below:

Clearfelling of 71ha of conifers. Restock of 71ha of conifers. Selective felling of 29ha of conifers and 29ha of broadleaves.