The Delamere Forest Plan covers 1,098.3 hectares including Delamere Forest and 9 outlying woodlands (Primrose Wood, Abbey Wood, Thieves Moss, Hornbys Rough, Petty Pool, Abbots Moss, Lobslack, Hopyards and Uplands). The design plan shows our operations including felling and restocking for the next 10 years with outlines for the next 50 years.
Delamare Forest is the largest wooded area in Cheshire and plays an important role in the local economy. With over 700,000 day visitors and sustainable harvesting programme it supports a wide range of jobs directly through the timber industry and increasingly through leisure and tourism.
Delamere Forest contains a number of meres and mosses which comprise of a mosaic of open water and peatland areas, together with fringing heathland and woodland, provides habitats for locally and nationally rare species of aquatic plants. Many of these delicate or endangered habitats are so rare that they have been designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), National Nature Reserves (NNR) and RAMSAR sites to protect them.
Most of the forest is freehold as part of the public forest estate and is designated as Open Access land. As well as informal quiet recreation activities such as walking and horse riding Delamere Forest hosts a number of large scale events each year including Forest concerts, Hell Runner and Race for Life.
The main objectives for the Cannock Forest Plan are:
• Continue production of commercial conifers and broadleaves
• Make the economic potential of the forest more resilient in the face of a changing climate
• Facilitate the 2.3 million visitors to the AONB and 350,000 visitors to Birches Valley each year through the provision of recreation facilities and services
• Conserve and enhance surviving elements of the historic environment within the forest landscape
• Manage the forest for the conservation of the wide range of species which are found here
• Restore ancient woodland sites
The plan details management operations including approved felling and restocking for the 10 years to 2025, with outline proposals for a 50 year period.
The current threat to the primary conifer species in Cannock Forest from pests and diseases will lead to a greater variety of species being grown. To achieve this some stands of trees will be removed early to reduce the threat and stands that are dominated by Corsican pine will be diversified. A combination of clearfell and continuous cover management systems will be used to provide the best conditions to establish future stands. The Forestry Commission will continue to work towards the restoration and management of the mosses and meres.
The planned areas of clearfelling, restocking and permanent open space creation during the ten years to 2025 are summarised in the table.
In addition to these defined operations, ongoing thinning and selective felling of both conifers and broadleaves will be carried out in the plan area at five to ten year intervals.
The proportions of conifer and broadleaf woodland and open space at the beginning of the plan period are shown in the bar chart. The gradual reduction of conifer cover and the increase in broadleaf woodland and open space expected within the plan period and anticipated over time is indicated in the middle and right hand columns of the chart.