The Bagots Forest Plan (490 hectares) comprises of four woodlands (Bagots, Kingstone, Harts and Birch Wood) that lie in central England, 16km east of Stafford, Staffordshire. The design plan shows our operations including felling and restocking for the next 10 years with outlines for the next 50 years.
The woodlands lie in the Needwood and South Derbyshire Claylands Natural Character Area on a wide gently rolling floodplain which follows the River Dove. The extensively hedged and pastoral landscape is dominated by mixed farming and features a dispersed pattern of villages and settlements. Each of the woodlands lies on gently sloping ground with the only exception to this being at the northeast edge of Bagot’s wood which forms part of what remains of the ‘scarp woodlands’ of the former Royal Forest of Needwood and has been designated as the Forest Banks Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
The FP area is predominantly ancient woodland (97%) which was largely cleared for the war effort and restocked with conifers in the 1950’s. Only 74ha of ancient woodland remains with 401ha now planted with conifers, which is dominated by uniform Scots pine stands. There is little diversity in the canopy structure with no major felling operations taking place in the last 20 years which has limited the available woodland habitats.
There is a good collection of Trees of Special Interest (TSI) in each of the woodlands with the best examples in the northeast belt of Bagot’s Wood adjacent to Forest Banks SSSI. These provide valuable nest sites for a wide variety of birds, insects and a large bat population.
Bagot’s, Hart’s Coppice and Birch Wood are managed under lease agreement for forestry purposes and public access is limited to public rights of way. Kingstone Wood is freehold and the Forestry Commission allows informal access throughout the whole woodland.
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The main objectives for the Bagots Forest Plan are:
• Restore ancient woodland sites.
• Increase woodland edge and open habitats.
• Conserve trees of special interest.
• Increase deadwood habitats.
• Manage the forest for the conservation of the wide range of species which are found there.
• Continue production of commercial timber.
• Make the economic potential of the forest more resilient in the face of a changing climate.
• Use a combination of clearfell and Low Impact Silvicultural Systems (LISS).
• Facilitate access in Kingstone Wood.
• Provide areas for Forest Schools in Kingstone Wood.
• Conserve and enhance surviving elements of the historic environment within the forest landscape.
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 Forestry Commission will continue to work towards the restoration and management of the ancient woodland in the plan area. The current threat to the primary conifer species in Bagots Forest Plan from pests and diseases will influence the speed of conifer removal. In the next rotation native broadleaves will be favoured wherever possible with some honorary native broadleaves being introduced to make stands more resilient to the future impacts from pests, disease and climate change. A combination of clearfell and LISS will be used to provide the best conditions to establish future stands.
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 open space, conifer and broadleaf woodland 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.