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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: amy@lantern.uk.com


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Calling all owners & managers of Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS)

posted on June 6, 2013

If you own or manage “PAWS” woodland (see below to find out1), the England Woodland Biodiversity Group* would like to hear from you. They want to find out if you are considering restoring your woods to a native tree cover (or have already done so), as this is a great way to help woodland wildlife. They want to ask you about your approach to woodland restoration and what additional support you would find helpful. Please use the link below to the short web-survey asking for your views. Your answers to these questions will enable the group to identify what future support (policy and practical) is needed, and the scale of the opportunity and challenges. Your responses are very much appreciated.

Please find the survey at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5L6JL5R. This link is for responses only.

If you just want to preview the questions please use this link.

The deadline for completed responses is 8th July 2013.


 1If you are not sure whether your woodland is a “PAWS” you can check here. You can search for the Ancient Woodland dataset using the ‘Search for a Feature’ tool or search for a place, postcode etc. using the ‘Map Search’ tool.

* The EWBG comprises representatives from Government, NGO and private sector woodland interests, and aims to identify, explore and escalate issues of national concern to woodland & forest biodiversity.

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