For over a thousand years woodland has been designed and managed for game, going back to the Normans who established great hunting forests around the country. Today woods are still planted for game and there is a growing trend to design and plant new woods for wild game. Such woods are multilayered and are havens not only for game birds but also for wild woodland birds. We are delighted to work with the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) to record individual estates’ ‘Big Farmland Bird Count’ each year which clearly shows how important such managed habitat is to the wild bird population. Further, we work with Songbird Survival and the BASC (British Association for Shooting and Conservation) who keep us informed about best management practices, particularly relating to the south and west. The two photographs below show multi-layered woodland edge and a mix of habitat – essential for all woodland birds and game.
We believe in an integrated approach to land management – woods take many decades to establish and government policy changes at regular intervals so a balanced approach is vital.
Now that the UK is post-Brexit, land use and grants are likely to be reviewed. With ever-changing demands on our land, especially linked to climate change and carbon storage, there will be considerable opportunities going forward.
For over 30 years Charles has been involved in a wide range of tree planting projects across the south and south west of England under a range of grant incentives. Over that time, he has planted more than one million trees.
Marginal farmland in the south west can yield high returns from timber production and now is a good time to consider planting a woodland for the future of your family and the planet. The aim of the UK Government is to reduce CO2 emissions to net zero by 2050 and therefore we need to be planting trees very soon.
Grants include woodland planning grant, woodland creation, annual payments for up to 10 years, countryside stewardship (leading to ELMS) and even the woodland carbon fund.
Another tree cultivation project that we undertake is the planting, growing and maintenance of specialist cricket bat willows. Charles works with Gray Nicolls, who supply and pay for all materials, and agree to buy the trees back after 15 years. It is an excellent scheme for the right site and client. The photo below is of two year old bat willows.
During an initial visit, we will give you an overview about what might be possible on your site. We can talk you through the maze of grants that are available and even if it is possible to access the woodland carbon fund. We will follow this up with a written quotation.
A bare field to start with, then shown after five years (depending on the crop).
From traditional sweet chestnut coppice grown on a 14 year rotation (also home to the white admiral butterfly) to undamaged English oak, we have experience of managing all types of silvicultural systems, rotations and objectives to suit a range of management and wildlife aims.
Grey squirrel management
Grey Squirrels destroy more young broadleaf trees in lowland Britain & Ireland than almost any other woodland pest. The damage they do costs the UK forestry industry upwards of £45m/yr. At last, some innovative research is under way into a long term solution. Whilst we wait for that, we can do much to limit their damage and even grow trees which will not be damaged. The key to grey squirrel management is to understand exactly why they damage trees in the first place.
New woodland design
Establishing a new wood can be a life-changing experience, regardless of whether you are a farmer or private estate. You will be creating the landscape of the future and doing your bit for the environment and biodiversity. The Government and the EU have set ambitious targets to combat climate change of net zero CO2 by 2050. The UK has around 13% tree cover against Europe’s 37%, and with thousands of hectares available across the country, there has never been a better time to take advantage of the excellent grants for planting trees. Now is the time to get planting!