A grant funded Woodland Management Plan highlighted the opportunity for new woodland planting to provide environmental and amenity benefits to the existing woodland portfolio, however it was clear from the start that taking productive arable ground out of production was not going to be an option.
Several fields on the farm had remained as non-grant aided set-aside for an extended period of time due to marginal arable yields and the want for a large array of habitat types between the existing woods.
In total 9ha of new woodland were planted to increase habitat diversity, native species and enhance conditions for wildlife & game. This work was also supported by grants * that offers payment rates that cover up to 80% of the total cost of planting the new woodlands. Additional grant support was also secured in the form of a £200/ha per annum ‘Maintenance Payment’ for 10 years making woodland creation a very attractive alternative to set-aside.
Wessex Woodland Management worked with the estate to design the new woodlands, taking into account specific factors and other deisgn aspects such as planting density, species composition, shape of woodland and tree protection options so that the new woodlands would meet the estates management objectives in both the short and longer term but also to ensure the new woodlands would be robust and resiliant to threats from new pests and disease and other impacts of climate change
In this case 20% of the woodland area was planted with conifer to provide future cover & roosting for game birds. The remaining areas were planted with mixed broadleaves and native shrubs. A network of rides throughout the woodland were designed into the scheme in order to provide access, biodiversity & amenity value. The planting density was carefully considered in order to provide a balanced habitat between habitat creation and future timber production and ease of tree care.
Shrub species were concentrated on the ride edges and intersections to provide soft 2 zone edges to the woodland, once established. The conifer element was distributed throughout the planted area in coupes of 15-30 trees.
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