A?summary of the work we carry out at Native Forestry:
National Forest Freewoods Scheme (Various?Sites)?- New Woodland Creation 2011
The tree planting season of 2011 included 6 National Forest Freewoods schemes consisting of small amenity woods planted across Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire. These small woods are often challenging in that they need to meet a wide range of?landowner requirements?yet remain under 1 hectare?in size. Alongside the traditional woodland planting, the schemes also included a range of other features such as fencing, parkland trees and hedgerow creation.
National Forest Freewoods Scheme, Borrowdale Gates, Leicestershire – New Woodland Creation 2010
A total of 7 woods were created by Native Forestry under the new National Forest Freewoods Scheme during the planting season 2009-2010. One example was a 1.65 hectare new native woodland created within Leicestershire.? Native Forestry designed and planted the scheme, which will also be maintained by us for the first three years of its life, without any costs being incurred by the landowner.
The scheme consisted of two separate woodland blocks located next to each other and planted within an existing mesotrophic grassland.? The majority of the site area will be retained and managed as grassland since it is reasonably species-rich, composed of native plants such as common bird’s-foot-trefoil and common knapweed.
The site is located within the Charnwood Forest area, which is characterised by a mixture of pastoral farming and fairly large areas of woodland, often ancient semi-natural or ancient replanted.? The geology of the area is perhaps its most famous feature, with some of the oldest rocks in Britain and the?oldest complex fossils in the world.? The site is south-facing, with excellent views of the surrounding landscape to the south east and towards the city of Leicester.
National Forest Freewoods Scheme (Various Sites)?- New Woodland Creation 2010
A further five Freewoods schemes were designed and planted by Native Forestry this year.? Three were within the school grounds of Anglesey Primary School in Burton upon Trent, Hugglescote Primary School in Hugglescote and Granville Community School in Woodville.? A further scheme was located within the former coal mining village of Donisthorpe and created on behalf of Oakthorpe, Donisthorpe and Acresford Parish Council.? The remaining scheme was created on farmland near to Ashby-de-la-Zouch.
All of the schemes were designed with wildlife conservation as a major objective, together with the benefits of improving the local landscape and helping to reduce the amount of grounds maintenance needed in the future.? The schools were also especially keen to include an element of education as part of the tree planting schemes, with students helping to plant a small proportion of the total number of trees and shrubs.
National Forest CLS Scheme, Redfern’s Wood, Walton Lane Farm, Derbyshire – New Woodland Creation 2010 (R W Sochacki)
Native Forestry planted 2.8 hectares of new native woodland for R W Sochacki.? This year’s planting is the second phase of Redfern’s Wood, with the first phase of 7.1 hectares established in 2005.? An additional 1.6 hectares of parkland were also created through the planting of large specimen trees.? A recently excavated pond within the woodland boundary was planted with aquatic plants such as marsh marigold and water-plantain.? New native hedgerows were also created, and existing hedgerows were improved through the removal of elder and replanting with hawthorn.
Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Rutland?- Management Plans 2009 (Natural England)
Management plans?were prepared for two SSSIs in Rutland for Natural England. The woods have been neglected?in the past and require sensitive management prescriptions to enhance and maintain the wildlife value. The woodlands?are classified as ancient semi-natural. Restoring a coppice system was a high priority for these woods, as well as improvements?to access?and high forest areas through?selective felling and replanting. The work operations were formulated?within the context of the Forestry Commission’s Woodland Improvement Grant.
Gresley Wood, Derbyshire?& Newfields, Leicestershire?-?Walkover Ecological?Survey 2009 (Forestry Commission)
A walkover botanical survey was carried out over both of these?sites, with each?composed of?a mosaic of habitat types, ranging from mature woodland to recently quarried wasteland. These surveys?help to guide the future management of the?sites from?an ecological perspective. They are also?useful in identifying potential threats from alien invasive species such as Japanese knotweed,?a species which?was discovered at Gresley Wood.
National Forest?CLS Scheme, Lowlands Farm, Leicestershire – New Woodland?Creation 2009 (R W Sochacki)
Native Forestry planted 5 hectares of new native woodland for R W Sochacki, a forestry consultant who designed the scheme. The contracting work also involved the thinning and windrowing of natural regeneration, the creation of an otter holt and the erection of several bat boxes. The maintenance is also being undertaken by ourselves, with exceptional growth rates achieved during the first summer.
National Forest?CLS Scheme, Hollybush Hall,?Staffordshire – New Woodland Creation 2009
10 hectares?of new?native?woodland was successfully created under the first round of the new National Forest Changing Landscapes Scheme. Native Forestry secured the funding, designed and planted the scheme, the largest in this round of grants.
The scheme was designed to reinstate previously cleared woodland within the grounds?of a private estate. Views of the surrounding landscape?were maintained whilst linking up the existing areas of?fragmented mature woodland.?Significant features?to enhance wildlife were included, such as the installation of?bat boxes, the?clearance of ditches, the removal of?Rhododendron ponticum?and the?gradual introduction of wild flowers.
The client, the?National Forest Company and the Forestry Commission?were all very positive about the scheme design and implementation.
National Forest 500-2000 Scheme, Bluebell Cottage, Leicestershire – New Woodland Creation 2008
Even relatively small wildlife habitats make an important contribution to the conservation of biodiversity and provide other benefits to the landowner.? At this site in Swannington, Leicestershire, a small scheme of 0.5 hectares was designed, in conjunction with the National Forest’s?500-2000 Scheme, and subsequently?planted.
The design was based around the creation of a new pond and wetland area. ?The planting scheme included locally native species matched to the site conditions, and as a result, we have seen exceptionally good establishment and growth rates.? On the lower-lying, wettest?part of the site, alder, downy birch, grey willow and osier?are thriving, while on the drier slopes,?pedunculate oak, wild cherry and ash are better suited to these conditions.? Wild flower plug plants were introduced into and around the pond, and these included yellow flag iris, marsh marigold, purple loosestrife and water mint.? Damselflies and dragonflies, such as the broad-bodied chaser,?have quickly colonised the site.
As?in all our schemes, tree seedlings, wild flower plugs and wild flower seed were from guaranteed native stock, and where available, from local provenance.
Barratt Pool Wood, Leicestershire?& Short Heath Wood, Derbyshire?- New Woodland Creation 2008 (National Forest Company)
On behalf of the National Forest Company, two parcels of improved grassland (9 hectares in total)?were developed with the aim of creating two community woodlands, as well as?providing?benefits to wildlife and the local landscape.?A public consultation process, EWGS Grant Scheme, general site survey and design plan were undertaken, before site preparation and planting began.
Locally native tree and shrub species, based on the?NVC W8 (ash-field maple-dog’s?mercury) woodland type,?were planted within rabbit-fenced areas.? Wildlife features such as existing mature trees, mature hedgerows, wetland areas and key species such as the?grass snake, were retained and enhanced through appropriate management prescriptions.
A full maintenance programme has been put?in place, including herbicide?spot-spraying, open ground and inter-row mowing and beating-up (replacing)?dead trees.? We assisted with a?community planting event?on the site, and several more are planned for the near?future.
Shellbrook Wood, Leicestershire?- NVC Survey 2006 (Forestry Commission)
A full NVC survey was carried out at Shellbrook Wood (5 hectares)?on behalf?of the Forestry Commission, in order?to aid future management of the woodland.? Using our specially designed survey forms and standard NVC methodology (J.S. Rodwell, 1991,?British Plant Communities Volume 1 –?Woodlands and Scrub), distinct vegetation types?were identified within the wood and quadrats then?used to assess the plant species within?the canopy, shrub, field and ground layers. ?The?analysis?involved?use of the DOMIN scale to?quantitatively express the?abundance cover of each species. ?A single?NVC W8 (ash-field maple-dog’s mercury) community?was assigned to the entire woodland area. ?Signs of several mammal and bird species were noted during the survey, e.g. badger and nuthatch, and key areas for management and conservation highlighted.
As with all our surveys, the aim is to produce a practical, user-friendly report that can be incorporated?into practical management prescriptions.