National Forest Company awards recognise quality woodland management in the National Forest
5th Oct 2021
The National Forest Company (NFC) was delighted to present this year’s Woodland Management Awards at the National Forest Forestry Forum last week.
The event was held at Staunton Harold Estate Timber Yard in Coleorton, Leicestershire. Over 60 landowners, contractors, foresters and agents gathered in a large well-ventilated barn, and enjoyed the opportunity to meet up and network with others in the business of creating and using woodlands in the National Forest.
They saw demonstrations of forestry equipment including the estate sawmill, firewood processors, forwarders and winches, and heard presentations on ‘the right tree in the right place’, agroforestry and pests and diseases in the National Forest. The forestry team from the NFC spoke about the current opportunities for funding and support from the National Forest Company, and presented a view into the future of the National Forest.
The Woodland Management Awards are designed to highlight how effective management really helps a woodland deliver many positive benefits and celebrates the work achieved creating and managing the woodland. Four awards were presented: Woodland for the People, Woodland for Wildlife, Silva - for best management of trees, and Woodland of the Year.
Louise Driver, director of operations for the NFC said: “It’s fantastic to see such a range of high-quality woodland management techniques here in the National Forest, providing excellent access for people as well as benefitting wildlife. Over the past 18 months we have learnt how vital accessible woodlands are for local residents enabling them to spend time outdoors as well as improving wellbeing. To see continued woodland management under such challenging circumstances is a real credit to all the people involved in forestry and land management across the National Forest.”
The recently redeveloped Snibston Colliery Park was awarded Woodland for the People for demonstrating excellent access and connectivity for people: including accessible routes for wide range of users, clear and informative interpretation, collaborative working with the community and the enhancement of any historic features on the site.
Following redevelopment in 2020, the park builds on former investment in woodland and habitat creation and maximises its appeal for a wide range of people. A new heritage trail brings the story of coal mining and Coalville’s history to life, with new interpretation and mining artefacts around the site. Extensive work to the woodlands on the existing country park and colliery spoil heap has created four kilometres of cycle routes and mountain bike trails for all ages and abilities.
The Woodland for the Wildlife award was presented to Moira Junction for showing excellent wildlife management: including creating valuable habitats, encouraging important flora and fauna, innovative management techniques, and installing well thought out wildlife infrastructure.
This stretch of wet woodland on the Ashby Wolds Heritage Trail, near the YHA National Forest, was rather forgotten and overgrown. Leicestershire County Council applied to NFC for a woodland management grant last year and over the winter of 2020/21 volunteers with the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust and Leicestershire County Council worked hard clearing out the pond and restoring the wet woodland. There is a huge amount of biodiversity within the site, which will be secured through this work. Ecological surveys have been carried out periodically since 2001 and some data goes back to 1987. To date 619 species have been recorded here, including 17 Red Data Book species, a global classification for endangered and rare species.
The management work will help maintain and add to the features that encourage this wide variety of species, including techniques to create features that mimic those more normally found in mature woodland. Here at Moira Junction they have created standing deadwood, and veteran features such as broken branches. These offer a more ragged edge than a limb cut off with a chainsaw, providing more nooks and crannies for insects and bats to take up residence.
Grangewood and Topwood both located in South Derbyshire took the Silva award for demonstrating the best management of trees.
A collaboration between two neighbouring landowners, these adjoining woodlands are being jointly managed to produce outstanding results in silviculture.
As well as the Silva award, both woodlands were also named Woodland of the Year for all aspects of the work being undertaken, excelling in a wide range of criteria.
If you’re a woodland owner in the National Forest and are interested in tree planting, forest creation or woodland management, we offer a variety of grants which can help you to maximise opportunities with your land, provide habitats for a variety of wildlife, or create spaces for wellbeing and recreation. Find out more, here.
Give to the Forest
Give monthly or one-off donation?