Guide to using woodland for sediment control

It is widely acknowledged that soils under woodland are generally well protected and are often improved. The development and implementation of best practice as exemplified by the Forestry Commission’s Forests & Water guidelines means that the planting and establishment of new woodland offers an effective approach to reducing sediment losses in problem areas.

Woodland has been shown to benefit sediment control in the following ways:

  • By providing physical shelter from the wind
  • By reducing water run-off
  • By increasing the entry of rainwater into the soil
  • By improving soil strength and stability.

This guide describes the catchment approach that is being developed by a partnership of organisations in Cumbria in northwest England to control sediment inputs to Bassenthwaite Lake. It sets out the steps taken to identify the main sources of sediment and explores how woodland could help to alleviate the problem.

Although the results may not be directly transferable outside of Bassenthwaite, the guide provides a useful framework for addressing the sediment issue in other catchments.

The Bassenthwaite Lake Restoration Programme is one of a number of partnerships involving the Forestry Commission in North West England.