Birthday gift leads to smallholding woodland

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22 JUNE 2011NEWS RELEASE No: 14723

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A surprise birthday present from his wife was all Tony Gavin needed to convince him to plant a woodland on the smallholding they run near Dolanog, Powys.

They had been thinking of planting trees on their land for some time but when Kathryn bought Tony a week’s course on how to manage a woodland, the issue was settled.

Fired with enthusiasm and, with the help of a Glastir woodland creation grant administered by Forestry Commission Wales, the couple set about planting almost half of their nine hectare (22 acre) smallholding with a new native woodland.

They decided to stop renting out all of their land for grazing and create two large blocks of native broadleaved woodland totalling 4.3ha.

As well as offering shelter for the farm, outbuildings and remaining grazing, the woodlands will provide them with a sustainable supply of firewood as well as improve the conservation and landscape value of their smallholding.

Tony said, “Meeting like-minded novices and experienced woodsmen on the residential course at the Centre for Alternative Technology in Corris really opened my eyes to the advantages of planting trees.

“I went onto the FC Wales website to find out about grants and was very pleased with the advice and help I had from the Commission and from my management planner, Julian Miller, who did all the paperwork.”

The Gavins have already planted 8,000 native trees and shrubs including ash, oak, cherry, alder and hazel and have another 2,850 trees to plant next year.

The Glastir woodland creation grant scheme pays up to £4,500/ha for planted new woodland, depending on the type of woodland. Money for fencing and gates is paid in addition at a rate of £3.15 per metre.

The tree-planting grant, which was developed by Forestry Commission Wales on behalf of the Welsh Government, is a stand-alone section within Glastir. Landowners do not need to have applied for the Glastir All-Wales element and it will not have any effect on any future application to Glastir.

Tony and Kathryn opted for the Native Woodland Carbon option, which pays the top rate of £4,500/ha over three years. They will also receive an annual payment of £300/ha for 15 years as a compensation for removing the land from agricultural use for that time.

In addition to the economic and landscape benefits, planting the trees will also help tackle climate change, as the newly-planted trees will absorb and lock up carbon dioxide throughout their lifetime.

Kathryn said, “I was amazed at the speed of the planting. The contractors planted trees at a rate of about 1,000 each a day, and family and friends got roped into putting canes and spirals on each tree to protect them from rabbit and hare damage.”

The new grant aims to help fulfil the Welsh Government’s commitment to increase the amount of tree cover in Wales, as well as the range of tree species.

It is available to all landowners in Wales who have more than 0.25 ha of suitable land available for planting new woodlands.

For more information on grants for new planting, please ring 0300 068 0300 and ask for the Forestry Commission Wales Glastir Woodland team, e-mail or look online

A total of 14.3 per cent of Wales is covered by woodlands. Of this, 38% (126,000 hectares/311,000 acres) is owned by the Welsh Government.

Caption: Tony and Kathryn enjoy their new woodland with pet dog Lucy.


Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.

Forestry Commission Wales provides advice on forestry policy to the Minister responsible for forestry. It provides grant aid to other woodland owners and regulates forestry by issuing felling licences.

More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on

Press office contact: Clive Davies on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922, email