Woodland Management Plan Disappointment And Progress

by Mike Cox

Well, after months of waiting and email exchanges we have finally given up on getting our Woodland Management Plan from the surveyor. It was originally promised for November but after the survey was done in October, but nothing has materialised from them.

Instead I've personally had to write the plan (quite a fun experience actually, and a great chance to think over what we want to achieve) and learn the intricacies of the Felling Licences and Tree Preservation Orders (TPO). More on the red tape in a separate post, however.

While I haven't followed a legalistic template while drawing up the plan I've tried to follow a simple and logical outline:

  1. The name, location, access information and map of the woods

  2. A general description of the current state of the woods, including observed flora and fauna, tree species and state, stocking densities and general woodland health

  3. Long term objectives for the woodland

  4. Short term goals

This document is supposed to be a flexible guide to the overall strategy being employed - think of it as your insurance policy for the woodland if you were to be unable to manage it. Someone else takes over unaware of what has gone on before and what the long term objectives are, and important targets may be neglected.

Since first drafting only a week or so ago it has already changed considerably. I've had conversations with people from the Forestry Commission and the Tree Officer from the council which have helped clarify ideas, and I'll be going to walk the woods again this afternoon to think about the various options. The biggest change is that the Forestry Commission have encouraged me to apply for a 5 year felling licence, rather than the shortest possible 1 year period. I need to go out now and take stock of what we might want to do over a 5 year period - not just the one year of coppice felling we had previously envisaged.

I'll put the plan itself up once I'm happy it has stopped changing, in the meantime I'm going to go enjoy a nice stroll in the woods!

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