The Oakamoor Forest Plan comprises of 9 separate woodlands (Oakamoor, Bradley, Carr, Dimmingsdale, Heathy Gore, Jackson's Wood, Key Wood and Ruelow) that lie along the Churnet Valley in the Staffordshire Moorlands. The total design plan area covers 369 hectares of which 20% Ancient Woodland, 55% Plantation on Ancient Woodland Site (PAWs) and 25% is classified as Secondary woodland (new woodland).
The woodlands forms an important part of the local landscape character and are typical of the steep woodland valleys found in the Staffordshire Moorlands. There are two Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) (Dimmingsdale and Ranger) which contain a wide variety of flora and fauna including bog moss, 2 nationally scarce species of liverworts (Calypogeia integristipula & Lophozia longiflora) and over sixty two species of true flies including the rare picturewinged fly (lusiodes geomyzina).
The Ancient Woodlands which is scattered throughout the design plan area and the network of water courses provide valuable wildlife corridors through the mature conifer stands and into the wider countryside.
The main objectives for the Oakamoor Forest Plan are:
• Continue production of commercial conifers and broadleaves.
• Introduce a mixture of continuous cover management systems.
• Utilize natural regeneration to help diversify future stand structure and species diversity
• Make the economic potential of the forest more resilient in
the face of a changing climate, pests and diseases.
• Maintain existing provision for informal recreation.
• Restore PAWs site back to broadleaf woodland.
• Link and expand remaining Ancient Woodland Sites.
• Retain in perpetuity the Trees of Special Interest and increase the deadwood resources throughout the FP area.
The plan details approved management operations including felling and restocking for the ten years to 2021, with outline proposals for a 50 year period.
The current threat to the primary conifer species in Oakamoor FP woodlands will influence the timing and scale of felling operations. To ensure the continuity of high forest some of the healthy conifer stands will be retained beyond their economic felling age and many of the broadleaved stands will be managed through selective felling rather than clearfell systems.
The planned areas of clearfelling, restocking and permanent open space creation during the ten years to 2021 are summarised in the table 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 broadleaf woodland and open space at the beginning of the plan period are shown in the bar chart. The gradual reduction of conifer planting and increase in broadleaf regeneration expected within the plan period and over time is indicated in the middle and right hand columns of the chart.