Blacklands Copse, West Berkshire consists of 30ha of predominantly PAWS (Plantation on an Ancient Woodland Site) woodland on a 999 year lease that commenced in the 1950’s. Previous to Wessex Woodland involvement, little silviculture had been practiced since 1987. Over time the woodland became heavily used by the local residents of the surrounding village for recreational use, with permissive access rights from the freeholder.
Due to the lack of silvicultural interventions, the majority of the conifer crops were ripe for harvesting and in danger of losing commercial value due to oversized timber and the threat of windthrow. Challenges included, adverse topography, outdated infrastructure & concern from many of the local residents and council that were resistant to change.
Supported by funding under the Forestry Commission English Woodland Grant Scheme, a Woodland Management Plan was implemented providing the client with the all the necessary permissions and licences for 10 years. The EWGS contract also included 5 years of woodland regeneration grants in order to incentivise the restocking of native broadleaves.
Wessex Woodland accompanied the woodland management plan with a 5 year rolling budget for all forests works and undertook the necessary stakeholder engagement; utilising the neighbouring village memorial hall to discuss the Management Plan and the timber harvesting and marketing programme with the local residents and parish council. The woodland is now in active management with the support of the local residents.
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