Community Woodland Action Plan
Suggested Action Plan – following visit 12/3/2020 by Martin Hugi (Woodland Trust)
Rook or raven nests in high mature trees so we should aim to keep as many as possible.
Approx 30% of the community woodland is ash - most are suffering from some ash die back, including some dead branches in canopy. Wait until leaves come out fully, then instruct a tree surgeon to assess the site.
Keep any strong ash, fell any that are weak or dangerous. Aim to create a clearing around the already fallen tree. Oak tends to hold its dead branches so probably ok, but check with tree surgeon.
Any trees to be removed should be cut at totem height, to leave some standing dead wood. This creates a different habitat to laying dead wood, increasing biodiversity.
The already fallen tree can be left in place. Consider cutting some branches off to tidy if desired, stack if neat appearance required but leave in the woodland.
Consider using any cut branches to mark out paths through the wood, or use to start den frames for children.
Around the clearings created by newly felled ash: plant some hawthorn and hazel or hornbeam and beech (shade tolerant) to combat having all similar age and height trees.
Nettles should be pulled up by hand including roots (not strimmed), just before they go to seed (around May/June). Remove from site or stack against metal fence to reduce nitrogen in top layer of soil. Prevents further spread of nettles and allows more delicate plants to come through later.
Brambles are natural to woods, leave a few patches here and there.
Consider making a beetle mound of branches and soil cover, involve local school children.
Small £2-3k grants available for interpretation boards and rural projects.
We have noticed a growth of Ragwort in the newly planted areas. This is easily identifiable by its bright, yellow ‘daisy like’ flower. It grows tall with green leaves growing from a rosette shape in the ground and has a purple stem near the root. This plant is extremely toxic, particularly when dry and dead as it becomes palatable to wildlife, whilst retaining its toxicity. Left untended it spreads very quickly.
Its removable should be done regularly to stop spread. It should be pulled by the root and placed in a plastic bag. The pulled plants are best burnt if this is possible but should not be left on a bonfire site awaiting burning. Alternative ways of disposal are to seal the plants in a bin liner for removal by refuse collectors.
We have now had the site reviewed by Richard Copley (Tree Surgeon). He advised removing some weak trees to stop spread of disease. No further instruction has yet been given to proceed with work and we recommend following suggestions by the Woodland Trust and discussing this prior to any work being carried out
The above notes and action plan specific to our wood is with great thanks to Martin Hugi from The Woodland Trust.
Some of the information above can be found in the Forestry Commission guide “So, You own a woodland”. There is much more detail on the management of woodland and how to increase biodiversity. It can be downloaded for free from the Royal Forestry Society here –
Prepared by Community Wood Advisory Group, July 2020