Woodland management programme
We have an ongoing woodland management programme across the countryside estate in Elmbridge. This programme was approved by the Forestry Commission in March 2012 and includes a Woodland Management Plan providing a framework for best practice woodland management.
The importance of management works for the countryside estate
Without management, our woodlands will become dark, over-shaded and dominated by tall, overcrowded trees without any viable structure in the long term. To remain healthy, a woodland must include trees of different ages, species, height and canopy size.
- allow greater light to reach the woodland floor to improve the plant life found across the common and increase biodiversity through insect life and small mammals
- enable the remaining trees to grow and develop fully, ensuring a healthy woodland for the benefit of future generations
- prevent the spread of non-native invasive species including Rhododendron, Turkey Oak, Laurel
Summary of woodland management works completed so far:
- West End Common
- Esher Common North
- Weybridge Heath and Fairmile Common
Management works on Oxshott Health in autumn 2023
Works will be carried out on 16 hectares of Oxshott Heath this autumn. They will include:
- thinning 30% of canopy
- 0.25 hectares clear fell areas for regeneration- per hectare of thinning
- a minimum 50% of the Holly understorey to be cut to ground level
- removal of invasive species such as Cherry Laurel, Rhododendron and Turkey Oak.
- construction of a temporary loading bay on Sandy Lane
Use of machinery during woodland management works
Whilst the use of machinery can be disturbing, not managing woodlands to provide the right environment for the wildlife that lives there would be more damaging in the long term.
We also take precautions to minimise the disturbance caused by machinery.
Dedicated areas and routes for moving machinery are used to ensure visitors’ safety and minimise disturbance to the soil. Any deep tracks are repaired upon completion of the work.
What we do with the timber produced as part of the woodland management works
The timber is sold to contractors to finance woodland or habitat management projects in local nature reserves to increase biodiversity and keep them healthy and thriving for the future.
It is transported to mills around the country to be processed to make beams, planks, boards, fencing, decking and timber for peoples’ gardens. It is also used as wood fuel. By-products from the sawmill will be put to use as animal bedding, chippings or mulch for gardens. Nothing is wasted.
The wood that cannot be commercially used is left as fallen dead wood providing a wealth of habitats to a range of wildlife, including birds, fungi, bats and insects. Through decay over time, the dead wood provides the soils of the future.
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