Great Pen Wood covers 85.6 hectares and lies in the North Wessex Downs approximately one mile South of Newbury. It is held by the Forestry Commission on a freehold basis and is dedicated for open access under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (2000). The wood is frequently used by dog walkers and occasionally for more formal events such as off-road motorcycling. Lying next to the A34 Great Pen Wood offers motorists views from both directions. Four rivers flow through the ancient woodland before joining the river Enborne and there are a number of veteran trees.
The wood is largely made up of conifer trees with Corsican Pine, Western Hemlock, Larch, Scots Pine and Douglas Fir the most prominent. Broadleaved species present in the wood include Oak, Alder, Beech, Aspen, Birch and Ash. Around half of the wood is classified as plantation on an ancient woodland site (PAWS) and 9% is ancient semi-natural woodland (ASNW). The wood has been designated a Site of Interest for Nature Conservation (SINC), but does not have any statutory conservation designations in place.
The objectives of management here are to:
- Maintain and enhance the native species and semi-natural features.
- Continue restoration of this planted ancient woodland to one of native and honorary native woodland.
- Maintain the diversity of age structure and species mix within the woodland.
- Increase the nature conservation value of existing habitats, particularly the riverine habitat.
- Maintain sustainable access and recreation.
- To provide a regular supply of quality timber to support the local timber industry.
Approval has been granted for the operations to run from February 2014 to January 2024. 4.8 hectares of Conifer trees will be felled and replanted as mixed tree species or allowed to naturally regenerate. 77.4 hectares will be managed under a Low Impact Silvicultural System (LISS) and 2.9 hectares under a Copice system.
The chart below shows the current structure of the wood, the target structure for 10 years time and the long term structure.