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Environmental planning and forestry consultants Lockhart Garratt (LG) in partnership with Euroforest Limited and the Country Land & Business Association (CLA) battled the wet weather on 22nd March and enjoyed showing more than 40 CLA members some of the woodlands on the Yattendon Estate.

Mature Noble fir plantation.

Yattendon Estate, the home of Lord and Lady Iliffe, is a diverse farming and property business situated in the heart of West Berkshire, covering over 3,600ha (9,000Ac) of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  Yattendon’s woodlands extend to some 883ha (2,180Ac) and cover almost 25% of the Estate.

The day started with refreshments and introductions from the organisers, with a special welcome from Lord Iliffe himself.  Guests then donned wet weather clothing and made their way by tractor and trailer to High Copse Wood for a guided tour of the woodland management and a discussion on the productive potential of the woodlands.

Guests ready to visit High Copse Wood.

During the 3 hour visit, guests visited 4 different woodland sites and were introduced to harvesting techniques that have contributed towards the Estate meeting their management objectives, including access, improved sporting and wildlife habitats and of course, realising the best potential returns from the timber.

The rain was quite relentless, however it did not dampen the spirits and all parties thoroughly enjoyed the tours and discussions, led by LG’s Cheryl Lundberg (Senior Forestry Consultant) and Euroforests Ben Manterfield (General Manager Southeast).

Cheryl said “It was superb to see such strong interest in the event and a diverse representation of delegates. There was interesting discussion on subjects such as continuous cover forestry and restoration of planted ancient woodland sites. It was particularly encouraging to learn that there seems to be a shared enthusiasm to adopt both gradual and pragmatic approaches to these subjects whilst operating on a largely commercial basis.”

“The day provided the perfect opportunity to further brief industry representatives on the Kent Renewable Energy Project and Euroforest Limited’s sole supply contract.  The project will have real positive outcomes on forest management in the Southeast as well as all aspects of the supply chain over the next 25 years.  I’d also like to thank A & J timber Harvesting for their impeccable work on Yattendon Estates to date” said Ben.

Ben Manterfield (Euroforest) discussing markets for birch thinnings and coppice.

The day was concluded with a hog roast and further networking, before delegates departed, in what was, by then, a dry and sunny afternoon.

“On behalf of the Estate I would like to thank all parties who were involved in organising an enjoyable and interesting event.  The proactive advice and management received from both LG and Euroforest recently helped improve our woodlands both attractively and profitably and the Estate looks forward to continuing to build on this over the years to come” said David Slack, Managing Director of Yattendon Estates Limited.

Robin Edwards, CLA South East Regional Director, added “Forests, woods and trees bring important economic, recreational and environmental benefits, all of which are most effective when the woodland is well managed. We are working closely with our members across the South East to highlight the opportunities to add value to woodland of all sizes, through active management, while enhancing the landscape and increasing biodiversity.” 

“It was excellent to hold a visit focusing on high quality commercial forestry management as a productive component of this fantastic rural estate.  The cohort of expert foresters, managers and woodland owners made for some very informative discussions and debate” quotes John Lockhart, LG Chairman.

LG looks forward to working with Euroforest and the CLA to provide further Estate visits in the future.

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