Woodland trust woodland management

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punkrockcaveman

Full Member
Jan 28, 2017
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yorks
Myself and a friend are in the final throws of becoming 'custodians' (or whatever they call it!) of a small piece of woodland locally. We will be able to plant some new stock and remove some immature trees and brash etc.

I'm personally hoping to start a small hazel copse as we have both done a course with the woodland trust on coppicing so it would be great for that to bear some fruit.

What sort of things do you think would be a good idea for the management of such a wood? It is landlocked by houses on two sides and a road (triangular shape) I'm really after clever little projects that we could put into practice there. Any community based ideas are welcomed too, it has a few footpaths running through it and gets well walked.

Thanks!
 

Mike313

Nomad
Apr 6, 2014
267
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South East
Give that it is bound by houses and has public paths running through it, what made you decide to buy it? I have looked at parcels of woodland on the Woodland Trust website and always first check where the nearest houses are (the further away, the better) and ensure there are NO public rights of way through it ( a complete no-no for me) or even along its boundary. It's obviously a very personal thing, but I'd love to hear why you bought it :)
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
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Mid Wales
That sounds great :)

How you go about managing it will depend on a number of things - probably first is the size of the piece of land. If it's relatively small it's best not to try and have too much of a mix on it; if it's larger you can try/carry out a few different management strategies. I've been looking after a small piece of woodland (4.5 acres) for 26 years and a larger one for 3 years.

There's a thread been running for a couple of years now discussing a number of things about woodland management and enjoyment here - there may be some information of interest:


My first advice is - don't do anything to it until you know exactly what is there and what the value is (in bio-diversity terms) - it's very easy to make a judgement of 'what is best' and get it wrong if you jump in too fast.

You will also need to look carefully at the liabilities - will you be taking them on? in which case, get some public liability insurance in place straight away.
 
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Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
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S. Lanarkshire
Good on you :)

Ehm, I would be wary of creating 'stopping places'.
They become focus for folks other than those who are just walking through, iimmc ?

It's often actually best to create dry footpaths, and though that concentrates the wear on those, it does leave the understorey of the rest of the wood relatively undisturbed.

I'm with Broch on taking time to really see the wood through the seasons.
That's actually something worth promoting though; seasonality. From the first flush of spring flowers right through to the everygreens in Winter.

If you have to increase the community involvment aspect, then work parties, and the occasional craft event that helps raise funds for the work parties to use, perhaps re the paths, or litter picking, are always popular.
Does the local nursery and primary school have any involvement?
I spent a lot of time encouraging children to enjoy and appreciate our woodlands. They become aware of them, value them, and help keep them healthy and accessible.

Very best of luck with it :)
 
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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
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Lancashire
If there are primary schools nearby, as in easy to get to, then perhaps they have a teacher with n experience of forestry schools. They're a very good thing and even if kids learn outside for only a few hours a week it does a lot of good. I know people who have looked into established forestry schools and nurseries. The schools basically teach in woods year round. We're not talking about schools teaching their own thing but primary schools that teach to the national curriculum and are inspected just like normal primary schools. Your wood might not be right for that but it might be good for some teaching.

My son's primary has a teacher with partial training in a forestry school. She's tried to get the head into using the excellent outside space around the school which is a lot more than most primary schools have. The head is too traditional to understand what forestry schools are about. A real shame when you've got a very large field, trees and space for nature which runs down to a canal and woods both sides.
 

punkrockcaveman

Full Member
Jan 28, 2017
349
217
yorks
Thanks for all the replies guys! Sorry for any confusion, my wording hasn't helped that. The best way I could describe it, we are working on a voluntary basis on behalf of the woodland trust as woodland managers?

Some great info so far, and I'll have a really good read of the custodianship thread.

There is a primary school pretty close so I'll keep that in mind, I think it is probably the most important thing to get the kiddies on side regarding the environment!

We were due to start doing some work on it just after lock down hit, so we've been chomping at the bit to go for it, but I'm glad of starting this thread as it will stop me from being a bull in a china shop.
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
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Mid Wales
I'm personally hoping to start a small hazel copse as we have both done a course with the woodland trust on coppicing so it would be great for that to bear some fruit.
Just a thought, remember that most British hardwoods will coppice depending on the age of the tree - it doesn't have to be hazel and you may get quicker results coppicing existing growth.
 

TLM

Settler
Nov 16, 2019
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Vantaa, Finland
Going through the existing vegetation not forgetting other than trees is a good starting point. I think the next one is to have a good clear idea on what one wants to do with it. Then map it and start slowly according to a plan.
 
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punkrockcaveman

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Jan 28, 2017
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yorks
WP_20200730_007.jpgWP_20200730_006.jpg

The path from the top splits into two quite quickly, as the wood rolls down the hill. The left path hugs the left border of the wood, where you can see the boundary is dictated by fencing and housing.
 

punkrockcaveman

Full Member
Jan 28, 2017
349
217
yorks
WP_20200730_017.jpg

This is where the two paths rejoin, looking back uphill

WP_20200730_016.jpg

some areas are a tangled mess of young trees all fighting for the light, I think these areas definitely need thinning.

WP_20200730_014.jpg

There are few more mature trees, these will all be staying (woodland trust policy I believe) they are mainly sycamore and beech but I think there is an ash and possibly oak too. Only had 5 mins spare when I was passing so I wasn't too thorough.

WP_20200730_015.jpg

lots of ash saplings in this little lot! Worth digging up and replanting? Some brush that could be cleared I think.

I didn't manage to get down the bottom end for pictures, there are lots of small hollies down there, these are a bit of a pain IMO and I think they would be best removed, lots of brash and brambles too. I'll take some more pics at a later date.

from that short time I picked out hooly, wych elm, ash, sycamore, elder, beech, rowan and hazel, I'm sure there are plenty of others.
 
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TLM

Settler
Nov 16, 2019
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Vantaa, Finland
Decide what you want: have a vision (hate the word) what to do. Big trees usually are there to stay but how diverse do you want it, how would a "natural" forest look like? Or if natural is not what you want decide which way to go.

As there are existing paths one way to keep them there is to have the thickets right next to them especially brambles ...
 
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