Good Woods supports dormouse habitat in Kent woodland

posted on August 19, 2013

The Heaths Countryside Corridor received a visit from woodland advisor Mike Phillips on 14th August through the Good Woods project. The charity, local to the villages of Charing Heath and Lenham Heath in Kent, purchased Hurst Wood from the company that owns High Speed 1 after the woodland had been dissected by the building of the new railway. It was bought with the intention of allowing responsible public access and to safeguard the wildlife that has made Hurst Wood its home.

Jon Heuch (Chairman of Heaths Countryside Corridor) with dormouse sculpture and mushroom seats

Jon Heuch (Chairman of Heaths Countryside Corridor) with dormouse sculpture and mushroom seats

The woodland is unique as it comprises roughly equal areas of Ancient Semi Natural Woodland as well as newly planted secondary woodland that was planted on ancient woodland soil translocated during the construction of High Speed 1. The current management of the woodland is primarily for the dormouse which receives a high level of protection under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations (2010). Dormouse survey work over recent years has shown that increasingly, dormice are now favouring the area of secondary woodland over the ancient woodland. During the visit, this phenomenon and the reason for its occurrence was discussed at length and advice was given about coppicing the ancient woodland to improve the structure and species diversity of this area that is a requirement for top quality dormouse habitat.

In Kent Good Woods is being delivered by the Kent Downs AONB Unit and the Countryside Management Partnerships. Woodland owners in Kent interested in receiving a visit should contact Mike Phillips:

Further information and advice on management in woodlands for dormouse habitat: read more


The Good Woods project is sponsored by B&Q with the aim of promoting good woodland stewardship. For more information contact Amy Hammond:

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Good Woods at the Royal Norfolk Show

posted on July 2, 2013

Last week the Good Woods project was at the Royal Norfolk Show.

Goods Woods at the Royal Norfolk Show

Goods Woods at the Royal Norfolk Show

Good Woods network member in Norfolk & Suffolk, Nicky Rowbottom, was on the stand talking to woodland owners. Nicky is working with Gary Battell from Suffolk County Council across the two counties to deliver the project.

She shared a stand with the Forestry Commission (thanks to the FC).  The weather was great, the event was busy. There was lots of interest in the Good Woods project which is offering free support to woodland owners in the region. Nicky spoke to 15 woodland owners.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the support available in Norfolk & Suffolk, Nicky’s email address is For other areas in the southeast and east of England please contact

Goods Woods at the Royal Norfolk Show

Nicky Rowbottom talking about Good Woods at the Royal Norfolk Show

Read more about the B&Q Good Woods project

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Woodland Star Rating scheme launched

posted on May 21, 2013

A new scheme has been launched that we hope will encourage sustainable forest management in all woodlands, and promote greater understanding of good woodland stewardship among the general public.

The Woodland Star Rating is a self-assessment scheme based on the UK Forestry Standard (UKFS).  The scheme has been developed by the Sylva Foundation as part of the B&Q Good Woods project, with the support of BioRegional, B&Q, Lantern and others in the forestry sector.

Why has the scheme been created?

Attaining the best standard of management, measured against the UKFS, can seem a daunting prospect for many woodland owners. The Woodland Star Rating scheme is a light-touch approach than enables woodland owners to get a feel for what the UKFS involves and encourages them to identify areas of management that they should focus on in order to move in incremental steps towards a UKFS-compliant management plan.

The Woodland Star Rating scheme also provides a measurable indicator of the standard of woodland management being practised. Not only might this encourage woodland owners to improve their own standards, but allows others to understand the level of management being undertaken in a woodland.

How the Woodland Star Rating works

Woodland Star Rating form

Woodland Star Rating form, accessible online in the myForest website

The Woodland Star Rating scheme comprises thirty questions that a woodland owner must answer. The application process is accessible to any one who has a woodland owner account in myForest. More details are available online at

The questions, developed following a review of scientific evidence, are based directly upon the UK Forestry Standard, and these are matched to the ecosystem services (e.g. carbon storage, habitat provision, flood alleviation, products and other public benefits) that each of the specified management actions are deemed to enhance. A complex scoring system was developed that took all these factors into account, which was then simplified and is now presented in a user-friendly interface on the myForest Service website. The scheme is self assessment only and is not an assurance scheme in its own right as there is no independent verification in place.

Spreading the word

Woodland Star Rating certificate

An example of a Woodland Star Rating certificate

When the Woodland Owner has completed the questions, they are able to submit their data and can print their own certificate showing the Woodland Star Rating that they have achieved. This could be hung in the owner’s office or on a noticeboard near the entrance gate to the woodland.

The Woodland Star Rating scheme was developed as part of the Good Woods project.

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Good Woods project film released

posted on March 27, 2013

A film about the B&Q Good Woods project has been released. It features Sarah Greenaway from B&Q and Pooran Desai from our partners BioRegional who explain the ideas behind the project and our work objectives during 2013. They visit brickmaker Jim Matthews of H. G Matthews who uses timber to fire his kiln, harvested both from his own woodland and from an increasing number of local woodlands. The film is narrated by our Media Associate, and presenter of the 2012 BBC hit series Tales from the Wild Wood, Robert Penn.

[vimeo video_id=”60726019″ width=”700″ height=”550″ title=”Yes” byline=”Yes” portrait=”Yes” autoplay=”No” loop=”No” color=”00adef”]

Read more about the B&Q Good Woods project at


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Realising nature’s value in our woodlands

posted on March 5, 2013
Realising nature's value

Realising nature’s value – report from the Ecosystem Markets Task Force. Click to download from the Defra website

The final report of the Ecosystem Markets Task Force was published today entitled: Realising nature’s value

The report includes (on page 21) the B&Q woodland project that we announced recently (read more). It says:

Bringing neglected woodland into an appropriate management regime is challenging, and woodland owners often lack a route to market. The B&Q UK Forest Friendly Woodland project is run by the charities BioRegional and The Sylva Foundation, and helps woodland owners and managers understand their woodland resource and create a Forestry Commission compliant management plan. A network of local woodland trainers will visit 200 woodlands across the South East and East of England, representing approximately 10,000 hectares of woodland and provide training to woodland owners on The Sylva Foundation’s MyForest mapping service.

The Ecosystem Markets Task Force was established as a practical, business-led review of the economic opportunities that arise from valuing nature correctly . The work of the Task Force is a key commitment in the Government’s Natural Environment White Paper, ‘The Natural Choice’ , which seeks to create “a green economy, in which economic growth and the health of our natural resources sustain each other, and markets, business and Government better reflect the value of nature.”

Download the report from the Defra website


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New partnership to bring woodlands back to life

posted on February 1, 2013

We are proud to announce today a ground-breaking scheme to breathe new life into neglected woodlands, developed by a partnership between the Sylva Foundation, BioRegional and B&Q.

We have teamed up with sustainability charity BioRegional and B&Q to support woodland owners in bringing woodlands into active management. The new scheme is part of B&Q’s One Planet Home programme.  The myForest Service ( will be central in the project and will support woodland owners in enhancing their woodland for wildlife, helping local communities to enjoy and value their woodlands and encourage the sourcing and supply of local timber from sustainable sources.

The new partnership was endorsed by government yesterday (31 January), when Environment Secretary Owen Paterson published the formal response to the final report of the Independent Panel on Forestry. Within the report (p.17) government said:

It is important for landowners and businesses to be aware of and understand the interests of their local communities and be willing to work with them wherever possible to their mutual benefit. We welcome B&Q’s recent initiative to help woodland owners engage with their local communities and we encourage others to do the same.”

We will be releasing more information about this major project over coming weeks.

Press Release: Bringing UK woodlands back to life, 01 February 2013

download press release


Press Release: Bringing UK woodlands back to life, 01 February 2013




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