The Tamar Valley Forest Plan area is made up of two separate forest blocks totalling 138 hectares in Devon. The forests lie within the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. As individual forest blocks set within the intimate wooded valley landscape they have very high natural and landscape diversity and value.
The forests managed as part of the public forest estate are Denham (99ha), close to Bere Alston and Buckland Abbey and Birch Wood (39ha) in which is 2 miles south of Tavistock.
The public forest here is a predominantly conifer on ancient woodland (PAWS) having been planted to address the national timber shortage of the early Twentieth Century. The area is known to produce high quality Douglas fir which makes up the majority of the trees here. Areas of remnant ancient semi-natural woodland do remain and are made up of oak, ash and sweet chestnut. Most of the areas are actively managed to provide timber for local and national businesses, and to improve the quality of the remaining tree crop.
The Plan area contains numerous archaeological features, notably mines, which originate from the rich iron and silver mining for which the area was renowned.
The Plan area has a rich ecology and includes Priority Lowland Mixed Deciduous Woodland which is habitat in part for dormice.
No Public Rights of Way cross the Plan area but Birch Wood is Open Access, with Denham being de facto Open Access due to the nature of the landholding. The majority of recreation usage is made up of walkers with some limited amount of usage by horse riders and mountain bike riders.
The core aim of the plan is to produce woodlands with increased conservation and landscape benefits whilst maintaining a viable timber output. The long term aims of management here are to continue the process of restoring Ancient Woodland while increasing resilience to climate, pest and disease risks, and to develop the forest for people. The social, economic and environmental objectives of management here are:
- The continued production of sustainable and marketable woodland products.
- To conserve, maintain and enhance cultural and heritage assets.
- The provision and maintenance of recreation facilities.
- Protect and enhance woodland and open habitats and their associated species.
- To protect enhance and restore areas of ancient woodland in line with the 2005 ‘Keepers of Time’ policy.
- The delivery of well-designed proposals in keeping with AONB and local landscape character.
The current plan outlines management proposals including felling and restocking over several decades, with felling licence approval for operations up until 2026.
Areas identified as PAWS will be managed as mixed woodland to maximise their productive potential, with the aim of a gradual return to native woodland. Prescribed proactive management of the broadleaf areas w
The Plan makes provision to ensure proposals are in keeping with the neighbouring intimate wooded landscape.
Implementation and maintenance of an environmental corridor system will continue to increase diversity of habitat and internal landscaping.
The planned areas of clearfelling, restocking and permanent open space creation during the ten years to 2026 are summarised in the chart below.
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 broadleaved woodland and open space at the beginning of the plan period are shown in the bar chart. The increase in native broadleaves expected within the plan period and over time is indicated in the middle and right hand columns of the chart.