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Case studies

Boston Woods Trust, Lincolnshire

The volunteer-run Boston Woods Trust manages 110 acres of public woodland and parkland for recreational purposes, including walking, bird watching and cycling.

Managed alder tree thinning and oak pruning has encouraged the growth of Westgate Wood; a young, mixed woodland within the Trust’s land, which was planted in 1999. Demand in woodfuel was a driver to sell the wood from this management directly to customers as fuel and timber, generating additional revenue for the Trust of £1,000 per year.

The woodland is not far from financing itself and the income is contributing to the running costs to fund the upkeep of the adjacent parkland and facilities.

Find out more about Boston Woods.

Escot Estate, Devon

Many organised events are held within the 180 acres of woodlands where thousands of people get to experience the woodland environment in many different ways each year. These events include: quiet walks, Survival and Forest Schools, corporate training days, Segway and quadbike safaris, 4x4 training and an annual endurance running race. This is all made possible because the woodland is kept in such good order by the estate team.

The long-term  management aims for the woodlands include maintaining the family heritage, using more sustainable management techniques, improving habitats to enhance biodiversity, maximising opportunities to use the land in different ways, generating income from timber sales and from multiple land uses, self-supplying chip wood for the estate boiler, generating income from venison and game sales, providing an amenity for the local community and visitors, and offering more education and training sessions on site.

Find out more about the Escot Estate.

Hampton Estate, Surrey

The woodland on Hampton Estate in Farnham, Surrey, is a vital financial and social asset to the owners and local people. The estate allows open access to the woodland paths for dog walks and active management has played a part in that offering to the local community. 

The twenty year woodland management plan is really important to Hampton Estate, providing a clear roadmap that will enable it to apply for a Countryside Stewardship grant in the near future, and a clear plan to produce wood chippings for its biomass plant to provide heating to offices and cottages on the estate. 

The woodland enterprise makes a positive contribution to the estate, with traditional coppicing providing timber that is then sold locally for fence poles and gate posts. Active woodland management helped Hampton Estate to win the 2014 Duke of Cornwall Multipurpose Award in the Royal Forestry Society’s annual Best of England Excellence in Forestry Awards.

Find out more about the Hampton Estate.

Stroud District Council

The River Frome and its tributaries in Stroud are prone to flooding, with houses in the Slad Valley at risk of flash flooding. Local people have campaigned for years for better protection but Stroud District Council and the Environment Agency found that the river isn’t suited to hard engineered solutions. Instead, Stroud District Council worked in partnership with Gloucestershire County Council, Environment Agency and the local community to solve the problem naturally by seeking the help of woodland owners to help create natural flood defences through active woodland management.

Woodland owners felled trees to act as flow diverters, create ponds and build large woody debris dams to slow the flow of the river. These large structures collect smaller sticks and debris in the river as it flows through the dam, deflecting water out of the channel where it is safe to do so, reducing the risk of flooding downstream. This natural and cost-effective flood management has also helped to enhance biodiversity and improve water quality.

Projects have already been completed in Workman’s Wood and Toadsmoor Woods, and riparian woodland corridors used on several other sites.

More woodland owners will be implementing natural flood management in the Stroud Valleys over the next few years. Woodland owners can access grant aid to prepare woodland management plans which supports work such as this through the Countryside Stewardship scheme.

You can find out more about the work by watching the film published by Stroud District Council.

Bereleigh Estate, Hampshire

Regarded as one of the best shoots in the country, the 850 acres spread over a third of the Bereleigh Estate in Hampshire have been actively managed for nearly 50 years.

While the estate has always managed its woods, they put together a management plan to help access the grants on offer. This helped them in securing a machinery grant for harvesting biomass,  and in demonstrating the sustainable nature of the woodchips produced on the estate which are either used or sold to generate extra income.

The estate has focussed on developing a successful shooting business. They have established new woodland, and diversified the structure of the existing woods, to provide ground cover to better hold pheasants and provide top class shooting. Bereleigh also opened a ‘glamping’ site four years ago as an additional revenue stream, which has secured full capacity every year.

Find out more about the Bereleigh Estate.

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Last updated: 19th April 2016