Good Woods delivers in Cumbria

posted on June 24, 2015

Last weekend the Good Woods team headed to Cumbria to deliver training and advice to local woodlands owners from the Grange and Meathop Woodlanders Group.

In 2013 the Good Woods project delivered support to 235 land owners to help create a clear vision for the sustainable management of 10,900 hectares of woodland in the south east and east of England. With support from Defra, B&Q and the D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust we have been able to join forces with Cumbria Woodlands and expand the impact of the project to the North of England. Since spring 2014 we have carried out advisory visits via professional foresters to 47 forest holdings across Cumbria.

Reading your woodland - training with Cumbria Woodlands

Reading your woodland – training with Cumbria Woodlands

Using a clinometer to measure tree height

Using a clinometer to measure tree height

Last weekend the Good Woods team headed to Cumbria to deliver training and advice to local woodlands owners from the Grange and Meathop Woodlanders Group. The morning session covered the basics of woodland management and a guide to using myForest. Presentations also covered how to realise the productive potential of your woodland, advice on engaging with stakeholders and an update on forestry grants and support. The afternoon workshop looked at resilient woodlands (protecting your habitat against pests, diseases and climate change) and took the participants out into a woodland to see how all of this works in practice!

Ruth and Steve, the owners of a mixed semi-ancient woodland in south Cumbria found the workshop very valuable and commented that it was:

“…thought provoking, practical and very relevant for us. Friendly, informal and knowledgeable presentations with some brilliant links and advice.”

By engaging with private and community woodland owners and managers, Good Woods is helping to create a productive and sustainable vision for UK woodlands. This not only helps to reverse the alarming decline in woodland plants, butterflies and bird numbers but also boosts the productivity and profitability of our woodlands, their ecosystem service delivery and goes some way to achieving the government’s ambition to bring two thirds of our woodlands back into active management by 2018.

Good Woods is a partnership between Sylva Foundation, sustainability charity Bioregional and the business community.

Comments (0)

Good Woods in Cumbria

posted on December 15, 2014

In its first year the Good Woods partnership supported 235 land owners and managers across the South-East and East of England with woodland management advice, and provided forestry education for 20 woodland community groups. In an exciting new development, Good Woods has been introduced to North-West England through a partnership with Cumbria Woodlands.

Cumbria Woodlands at the Westmorland Show

Cumbria Woodlands at the Westmorland Show. Photo Cumbria Woodlands

The Good Woods partnership will be working directly with owners of 80 Cumbrian woodlands most in need of support. Training will be provided in woodland management, and in innovative web-based mapping and management tools using the myForest service run by the Sylva Foundation.  As well as the direct support to owners the partnership will be delivering training to community woodland groups in Cumbria that play an important role in the ongoing stewardship of woodlands.

Cumbria is recognised as home to some of Britain’s most diverse and beautiful forests. Across the county, including the Lake District National Park, they cover over 10% (68,167ha) of the total area and provide multiple benefits; notably for tourism, wildlife, water quality and rural employment. Yet many of these forests are under-managed and now failing to deliver benefits to society and the environment, and potentially are unsuited to the future needs of society. They are also vulnerable to changing climate, pests and pathogens.

A sector-sponsored report published earlier this year[1] identified that an additional 50,000 cubic metres could be harvested from Cumbria’s forests, supporting more jobs and adding £9.5M of gross value. Some 165,000 tonnes of CO2 are absorbed in the county’s trees each year, contributing significantly to targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Good Woods is the first activity in a series of interlinked actions aiming to rekindle the health and prosperity of Cumbria’s forests, thanks to an innovative partnership between government, business and the charitable sector (download brochure).

Neville Elstone of Cumbria Woodlands said:

“Funding and innovative thinking from the Good Woods partnership has enabled Cumbria Woodlands to grow and develop the range of ways we can support woodland owners to give their woodlands a more healthy, productive future.”

Alistair Yeomans of the Sylva Foundation said:

“It is an important development to be working with Cumbria Woodlands under the Good Woods partnership as their staff have a great deal of forestry expertise and local knowledge. By working together I am sure that we will help progress sustainable forest management in Cumbria.”

A typical and beautiful Cumbrian woodland.

A typical and beautiful Cumbrian woodland. Photo Cumbria Woodlands

This ambitious new programme of work under Good Woods will lead to more local jobs and home-grown timber. Hand-in-hand it will also improve habitats for nature and deliver ecosystem services such as clean air and water, carbon sequestration, and alleviation of flooding. It is being delivered by three organisations: regional charity Cumbria Woodlands, and two national charities – BioRegional and the Sylva Foundation. Funding for the Good Woods partnership in Cumbria is being provided by DIY retailer B&Q, government agency Defra, and the D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust.


Rachel Bradley of B&Q said:

“It is fantastic to see that B&Q’s investment in Good Woods is continuing to provide a positive impact within individual woodlands, which is where support is actually needed, to ensure that all of society benefit from the full range ecosystem services that trees and woodlands provide”.

Hayley Baines-Buffery of Bioregional said:

“We are very pleased to have expanded the Good Woods partnership’s scope and we are looking for other businesses, charities and Government agencies to work with us to increase the reach of the Good Woods approach.”

More about Good Woods

In January 2013 a partnership was formed between leading home improvement retailer B&Q; sustainability charity, BioRegional; and the tree and forestry charity, the Sylva Foundation. This partnership was named Good Woods with the specific aim of improving the stewardship of woodlands in the UK.

Woodland ecosystems are complex and unfortunately many have been neglected over recent decades. Understanding how best to look after these valuable habitats is greatly assisted by the help of a professional forester. However to help communicate what woodland management actually means in practise, Good Woods created the Woodland Star Rating which aims to help non-foresters understand, adopt and communicate good woodland stewardship activities.

Read more at the Good Woods webpages

[1] Roots to prosperity: an action plan for the growth and development of the forestry sector in Cumbria. (2014)

Comments (0)

Good Woods shortlisted for responsible business award

posted on July 21, 2014


Good Woods - for people, for nature

Good Woods – for people, for nature

Good Woods has been nominated in the Best Business/NGO Partnership category at The 5th Annual Responsible Business Awards.

This award goes to the best sustainability/corporate responsibility partnership between a company and other entities (i.e. NGOs, governmental body, charity or other non-profit organizations). The winner will have shown clear commitment to a long-term, mutually beneficial partnership that can demonstrate real social/environmental/governance gains for society.

Good Woods is a partnership between B&Q’s One Planet Home, BioRegional and the Sylva Foundation. In its inaugural year Good Woods provided professional forestry advice and support for 235 woodlands across the South East and East of England.

To deliver this professional forestry support to woodlands owners and managers the partnership developed a network which included: local forestry professionals, woodland management charities, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, environmental charities and Wildlife Trusts. Additionally Good Woods worked closely with Forestry Commission England, which provided general support and technical guidance.

This welcome news comes as Good Woods is preparing to start a further phase elsewhere in Britain. Details of this phase of Good Woods will follow in coming weeks.

This Responsible Business Excellence Celebration is organised by the Ethical Corporation and is to be held on September 29th 2014 in London. Read more


Comments (0)

Stakeholder and Community Engagement Guide published

posted on July 2, 2014
Stakeholder & Community Engagement

Stakeholder & Community Engagement

Engaging with stakeholders and your community can be a very important part of woodland management, both in the planning and operational stages.  As part of the Good Woods project we have updated the Community Engagement Toolkit (first published in 2011).

The new guide,  Stakeholder and Community Engagement – A guide for woodland owners and managers in England, reflects changes to the UK Forestry Standard and other developments in forestry and technology.

The guide is aimed at woodland owners, managers and workers and is designed to help communicate the reasons and benefits of woodland management to the general public. It provides suggestions and guidance to help relate woodland plans to the wider community.

To find out more and download the guide click here

Comments (0)

Three hundred Woodland Stars

posted on April 24, 2014

Over three hundred woodland owners have completed a self-assessment of their woodland using the Woodland Star Rating.

The Woodland Star Rating was developed to encourage sustainable forest management in all woodlands, and promote greater understanding of good woodland stewardship among the general public. It is a self-assessment scheme based on the UK Forestry Standard (UKFS). It was 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.

Woodland Star Rating form

Woodland Star Rating form, accessible online in the myForest website

If you are a woodland owner or an agent, the scheme is freely available on the myForest website.

Using the Woodland Star Rating scheme

  1. Create a woodland owner account on myForest.
  2. Start mapping your woodland with the GIS tools that myForest provides.
  3. Click on the “star rating” tab on your account home page.
  4. Detail what you are doing in your woodland by answering the questions.
  5. Submit your assessment and download your certificate.



Good Woods - for people, for nature

Visit the Good Woods web page

The Good Woods project is a novel project aiming to breathe new life into UK woodlands. The project—a joint initiative between DIY giant B&Q, sustainability charity BioRegional and forestry charity The Sylva Foundation—will revive woodlands to provide environmental, social and economic benefits.

Comments (0)

Good Woods celebrated in the New Forest

posted on

To mark the end of the year-long Good Woods project in the New Forest, which has seen eight woodlands receiving advisory visits, representatives from the Sylva Foundation and B&Q met with members of the local woodland community who were carrying out coppicing and thinning operations at Honeylake Wood, New Milton.

Woodland management is particularly important in the New Forest as its woods are a hugely diverse habitat for wildlife and contain the highest population of veteran trees in western Europe.

The Good Woods team worked with the New Forest Land Advice Service to deliver the project in the New Forest and the surrounding areas.

Chris Balcombe

Left to right: Julia Griffin, B&Q Corporate Social Responsibility; Alison Barnes, New Forest National Park Authority Chief Executive; Alistair Yeomans, Sylva Foundation (photo by Chris Balcombe).

Julia Griffin, B&Q Corporate Social Responsibility, said: ‘It was great to see Good Woods in action in Honeylake Woods and to see first-hand what a difference the project is making on the ground.

The ultimate aim of Good Woods is to invigorate the current generations’ appreciation of trees and woods and realise the potential that British woodlands can play in all of our lives, both now and in the future.’

Georgianna Watson, New Forest Land Advice Service Advisor said: ‘Good Woods was a great project to be involved in, as all the woodland owners and managers that I spoke with were really keen to manage their woodlands more successfully. All participants were eager to learn about management skills that would allow their timber to become economically viable‘.

Better woodland management will directly benefit the New Forest in a number of ways, such as improved resilience to disease outbreaks and extreme weather, better habitats for wildlife and increased local timber supply.


About the New Forest Land Advice Service

The New Forest Land Advice Service is available to landowners and occupiers who would like advice and support on a wide range of issues relating to land management. The advisors operate across the National Park, the Avon Valley and the coastal plain. Since the service started in 2010 it has advised more than 300 businesses.
The service offers:

• A free and independent service for the land managing community in and around the New Forest and Avon Valley
• Support for landowners, farmers, New Forest Commoners, equine owners, graziers and community groups
• Advice to anyone who owns or manages a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) in the area
• A small grant scheme which can support capital works which benefit the landscape, biodiversity and cultural heritage of the area.

To find out more about the New Forest Land Advice Service, or arrange a visit, please call 01590 646696 or email

About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect – Enjoy – Prosper

The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:
• Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park – Protect
• Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.
We also have a duty to:
• Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Good Woods - for people, for nature

Visit the Good Woods web page

The Good Woods project is a novel project aiming to breathe new life into UK woodlands. The project—a joint initiative between DIY giant B&Q, sustainability charity BioRegional and forestry charity The Sylva Foundation—will revive woodlands to provide environmental, social and economic benefits.

Comments (0)

Good Woods project celebrated in film

posted on March 28, 2014

To mark the end of the first year of the Good Woods Project the partners have released a film highlighting the achievements of the project in its inaugural year.

The Good Woods project, launched in January 2013, resulted from a partnership between Sylva Foundation, leading home improvement and garden centre retailer B&Q, and sustainability charity BioRegional. The project aimed to improve the environmental, social, and economic values of woodlands.

BioRegional and Sylva worked with Lantern, sustainability consultants, to establish and support a network of organisations and advisors which included: Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty; Wildlife Trusts; Woodland charities; and professional foresters. We are very grateful for the hardwork and dedication by all.


Over the last year the Good Woods project team has been working to improve the levels of woodland stewardship in the South East and East of England.

Key achievements to date:

  • Supported 235 land owners and managers, caring for 10,900 ha of woodland, with tools and training in woodland management, linked to the freely available myForest service;
  • Developed the new Woodland Star Rating to encourage and communicate the benefits of sustainable forest management in woodlands, and help demonstrate what good woodland stewardship means to the general public;
  • Provided training in woodland management and community engagement to 20 community groups.
  • Worked with B&Q and its suppliers to better understand the barriers and opportunities to source more sustainably produced timber from UK woodlands.
  • Developed a Stakeholder and Community Engagement Guide – to help woodland owners and managers communicate forestry activities to the public (to be published shortly).
  • Created a Woodland Producer’s Pack to assist woodland owners in assessing their woodland for the full range of forestry products (to be published shortly).

Moving Forward

Good Woods provides a model for providing support in Sustainable Forest Management to owners and managers of UK woodlands. This approach is coupled with a vision for strengthening the national supply chain to bringing more responsibly produced, home-grown timber into our homes and workplaces.

The project partners are currently planning the next phases of Good Woods and we will provide updates in the coming months.

Good Woods - for people, for nature

Visit the Good Woods web page

The Good Woods project is breathing new life into UK woodlands. The project—a joint initiative between DIY giant B&Q, sustainability charity BioRegional and forestry charity The Sylva Foundation—aims to revive woodlands to provide environmental, social and economic benefits.

Comments (2)

Good Woods supports biodiversity in North Wessex Downs AONB

posted on February 7, 2014

Good Woods visits to a cluster of small ancient woodlands in West Berkshire have helped four woodland owners address the issues associated with bringing small ecologically-rich woodlands back into management.

Between July and December 2013, ten neighbouring woodlands in the Hampstead Marshall to Inkpen Biodiversity Opportunity Area in West Berkshire received Good Woods visits. These woodlands, some small, some ancient, mostly broadleaved, and one a SSSI, are owned by four different families.

This is a heavily-wooded area on the clay land beneath the high chalk downs and Walbury Hill to the south, and the wetland habitats of the River Kennet to the north.  It is a patchwork landscape, characterised by a myriad of small isolated native broadleaved woodlands with farmland and hamlets between.

Many of these woodlands are ancient semi-natural woodlands and therefore designated as local wildlife sites, providing habitat for locally important species and ancient woodland indicators such as the small-leaved lime tree and herb paris. However, a large number of these woodlands have become fragmented or squeezed over the years as a result of agricultural or housing pressures, many being under-managed, resulting in increasingly small and fragmented patches of woodland amidst a sea of generally intensively managed farmland. These small woodlands can become ‘islands’ particularly for those species unable to travel far, such as small mammals, invertebrates and plants.

The Good Woods visits, organised by Meg Chambers, the Good Woods network member in this area, introduced all four owners to the woodland management planning service, myForest and the Woodland Star Rating scheme, which provides woodland owners with the necessary tools by which they can assess and plan future management work. As well as providing them with site-specific woodland management advice, the owners were made aware that neighbouring woodland owners had also received Good Woods visits and were facing many of the same management issues.

It is important that landowners are aware that their woodland, however small, is part of a wider wooded landscape, and that it pays a crucial part in the success of woodland wildlife in the area. Managing woodlands at a landscape-scale, linking them together with sensitively managed farmland, road verges and gardens can transform these isolated patches of woodland into a series of ‘stepping stones’, or refuges for wildlife, creating a network of woodland habitats allowing key woodland species such as the dormouse, brown long-eared bat and betony to move through the landscape and thrive.

Meg Chambers

Meg Chambers is a Network Member for the B&Q Good Woods Project in the North Wessex Downs AONB project area.

Contact Meg by email

Comments (0)

Update on Forestry and Woodlands Policy Statement

posted on February 6, 2014
Good Woods summary Jan2014

Good Woods summary Jan2014

Forestry Commission England have released an update, one year on, from its policy statement released in 2013. The Good Woods initiative was highlighted as one of the achievements by the sector.

Forestry Commission England Director, Ian Gambles, commented:

“Encouraging progress has been made over the past year and by working with our many partners in 2014, I am confident further great achievements will be made towards securing a more resilient future for our woods and forests and the forestry industry.” Read more here

Download our Stakeholder Update about the Good Woods initiative.


Comments (0)

Good Woods supports PAWS restoration

posted on November 29, 2013

Jude Hassall from Lantern visited Jane Devlin’s woodland near Grayswood, Surrey as part of the Good Woods project. Jane and her husband have owned the  woodland for a year now, and the management plan is to be submitted to the Forestry Commission shortly, so they were delighted to have received expert advice from Sylva and the Good Woods project to help shape the plan. Laurence Crow was on hand as the Good Woods advisor to give Jane some help to shape the vision she has for the wood.

The site is a PAWS  (Planted Ancient Woodland Site) that Jane is keen to restore to a mixed deciduous native woodland – or at least start the long haul to transform it. It is an undulating site, steep in parts, with some challenges in terms of ongoing management access and extraction of standing timber. The conifers are a mix of Larch, Norway Spruce and Western Hemlock.  The plantation is overstood and many trees will need harvesting in the next few years. In a way this is good news, since there is potential for some income that will be used to implement the management plan.

Evidence can be seen within the woodland of its original composition with some majestic oaks struggling for space within the dense conifer plantation. Several large trees,  future veterans, grow along the margins of the wood, while occasional stumps of former oak, ash and beech trees remain throughout. During the visit it was clear to see where Jane had begun working to remove some of the dead or dangerous trees. Clearings created by wind-blown trees showed how opening the canopy had created an opportunity for native self-sown trees, with beech, hawthorn and hazel doing particularly well.

Some mysterious pits within the woodland were spotted that were thought to be evidence of ironstone ‘scrapings’ at some point in its past, which will now be noted down and the best examples protected during the coming work.

Laurence was able to give detailed advice on how to enhance the habitat around the stream that runs through the woodland at the bottom of a steep escarpment through the creation of scallop bays. This will allow greater levels of ground cover and woodland plants to emerge.

The owner was keen to begin get her management plan approved and to begin restoration work in the woodland. Jane already has local volunteers who wish to work in the woodland and help with the restoration and will reward them with firewood under a ‘logs for labour’ model.

There are other activities planned too: Jane and her husband have an adventure race called “Run-Forest-Run” ( The test event is in November 2013, with the first  open event in March 2014.)

Eventually, through a combination of felling and thinning, space will be made within the woodland for a reintroduction of local species back to the site. Jane is really keen to get going with the work and thanks to the help from Good Woods will be polishing off her plan and starting work as soon as she receives approval.

Good Woods - for people, for nature

Visit the Good Woods web page

The Good Woods project is a novel project aiming to breathe new life into UK woodlands. The project—a joint initiative between DIY giant B&Q, sustainability charity BioRegional and forestry charity The Sylva Foundation—will revive woodlands to provide environmental, social and economic benefits. For more information contact Amy Hammond:

Comments (0)
Older Posts »