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Effective Woodland Management

Client: Wakefield Lodge Estate

The Wakefield Lodge Estate is situated within the heart of the Whittlebury Forest (SSSI) near Towcester in Northamptonshire. We have managed this 295ha sensitive woodland estate through low intensity, Continuous Cover Forestry principles since 2000.

The project objectives were to secure grant funding from the Forestry Commission and Natural England; to support continued maintenance of a healthy, high qualtiy and diverse woodland structure for landscape, sporting and timber harvesting; and finally to ensure that all certification requirements were met without compromising estate objectives and keeping bureaucracy and cost to a minimum, in order to justify grants and management.

Over the years, we have been successful in securing an extensive Wildlife Enhancement Scheme and Annual Management Grant packages with Natural England and the Forestry Commission (FC) respectively. In order to continue the income stream from the FC grant structure, the estate was required to become independently certified in 2007. We were able to provide a cost effective and pragmatic solution to certification which is renowned for being complicated and expensive to administer.

Results were achieved by joining forces with other large estates to form a group scheme in order to spread costs over a large area of woodland. A structured thinning programme has been implemented over the past seven years which has seen canopy diversity improvement in terms of age, quality and species composition. Woodlands have been managed to minimise impact on the wider estate’s activities, in particular shooting and agriculture. Our close communications and strong links within the industry have resulted in cost-effective and structured advice in order to meet certification requirements which in turn has delivered additional grant funding.

Continuous Cover Forestry is an approach to management that fits well with the estate’s own objectives. Such management will continue with sensitive, detailed analysis and bespoke intervention. Where possible, grant funding to help fulfil the client’s objectives is being secured with continuing, strong working relationships with both Natural England and the FC. We have also provided other services on the estate to complement the forestry management including a woodfuel evaluation report and roadside tree survey.

“I have been pleased with Lockhart Garratt’s understanding of our requirements as well as the Forestry Commission and Environment Agency’s wishes and their ability to persuade these bodies to modify their proposals. The professionalism and attention to detail has been excellent”.

Julian Richmond-Watson, Wakefield Lodge Estate

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