The Forestry Commission has a number of grants to support woodland management, including support for developing a woodland management plan, undertaking woodland management and creating new woodlands.
Rules of thumb for careful felling and coppicing include:
- Check whether your woodland in a Site of Special Scientific Interest, contains ancient woodland or designated species, could be affected by a Biodiversity Action Plan, or contains any archaeological remains. These may restrict the kind of woodland management that is permitted in your woodland.
- Get a Forestry Commission felling license where necessary.
- Consult the guidance documents shown below.
- Cut wood between October and March (preferably November to February), to avoid trampling sensitive plants and disturbing nesting birds. This is also when the woodfuel has its lowest moisture content, which reduces the time needed to dry the wood to a level where it can be burnt efficiently. See also further information on promoting biodiversity.
- Allow a buffer of at least 5 – 10 metres between any extensive coppicing/felling and any watercourse, to protect water quality
- Preserve valuable trees (for instance ancient trees) and any cultural heritage such as archaeological sites or ancient ditches. The Oxfordshire Archaeologist will be able to advise on these
- Browsing of new shoots by deer can be a major problem: protect them with fencing, cover them with brush, or ‘remove’ deer from the area
- Very steep or damp sites pose particular challenges: discuss these with the Oxfordshire Woodland Project manager
- Ensure that you have adequate insurance…
- Involve as many community members as possible, to make the work easier, increase ‘ownership’ of the woodland, and avoid concern about the seemingly negative impacts of woodland management.
Example of community woodland management for biodiversity and woodfuel: Cutteslowe Park Community Woodland