Due to Covid-19, we have reduced personnel at the offices of the Sylva Foundation and our premises at the Sylva Wood Centre. Emails and phone messages are being checked but please allow a little longer than usual to receive a response.
Please do not arrange a formal visit without first checking with us. Members of the public are free to enjoy our network of permitted paths through the Future Forest as usual.


Working with the RSPB to support sustainable woodland management

posted on March 10, 2014

Paul Orsi and Gabriel Hemery (Sylva Foundation) recently met with members of the RSPB Woodland and Reserves team at a small woodland reserve in Buckinghamshire. The wood was bequeathed to the RSPB in the 1950s and is managed by the reserves team based in Otmoor.

Sylva's Paul Orsi meets with members of the RSPB Forestry and Reserves team at a small woodland reserve

Sylva’s Paul Orsi talks with members of the RSPB Forestry and Reserves team in a small woodland reserve

The woodland is primarily managed for biodiversity and access, with active management focussing on the maintenance of an important area of meadow habitat, together with clearance of footpaths and rides.  Discussions during the visit centred on how more active and productive management could improve the woodland for biodiversity as well as bringing in a small amount of income to offset running costs.

There were commonalities in approaches between the two organisations and it was stimulating to see how we were looking at the same challenges and opportunities through different lenses.

The team from the RSPB were interested in looking at how they could collaborate with other woodland owners, in what is a heavily-wooded area, to bring about economies of scale and to achieve landscape scale biodiversity benefits.

We look forward to continuing to work together to help bring more woodlands into management, so that they can thrive both ecologically and economically for the benefit of everyone.


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Woodland management in The National Forest receives a boost

posted on December 16, 2013
National Forest

The National Forest

The National Forest Company (NFC) has launched an innovative programme to encourage effective woodland management throughout the 200 square miles of The National Forest.

The NFC is responsible for the creation of The National Forest, which spans parts of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire. Over eight million trees have been planted since the inception of the Forest in the early 1990s, and, including the existing mature woodland, the Forest now comprises several hundred woodlands, with many more millions of trees to plant.

As the first woodlands to be planted in the Forest approach first thinnings, the NFC has been working to prioritise woodland management as well as woodland creation. Part of the necessary investment has been the appointment of Charles Robinson as Woodland Management Officer, and the creation of an extensive woodland management programme.

The aims of the programme are to:

  • promote the benefits of Woodland Management Plans;
  • develop the local woodland economy and timber markets;
  • maximise the potential of each site in keeping with the aspirations of the woodland owner;
  • ensure the sustainability of the management work and planned future work;
  • encourage the management of woodland for its forestry, landscape, biodiversity and recreation value;
  • develop resilient woodlands and other forest sites that can adapt to climate change, help to sequester carbon and are robust to the challenges faced by tree pests and diseases.

Charles will liaise with the Forest’s woodland owners, promoting the benefits of good management and offering advice on Woodland Management Plans.  He will be researching potential markets for timber and advising on funding and grants to help with the work.

The NFC itself is making a new grant scheme available for woodland owners within The National Forest. Targeted at the management of 15 – 23 year old woodlands, which make up over 2,800 hectares of the Forest, as well as mature woodland, the scheme will be piloted this winter, and if successful, will be rolled out as part of the overall programme in the summer of 2014.

Charles Robinson said: “Planning for woodland development is as important as getting the trees in the ground in the first place. This programme gives us the mechanism to make a real difference to the productivity, resilience, health and accessibility of the woodlands in The National Forest. We have a great opportunity here in the Forest to foster a communal will to have great woods, well looked after, reaping benefits for the woodland owner, and producing a welcoming environment for wildlife and people.”

The woodland management programme encourages good practice amongst all woodland owners in the Forest, and is equally applicable to community groups who may be interested in taking on the management of woodland near where they live.

For further information about this programme in The National Forest, contact Charles Robinson on 01283 551211, or email cerobinson@nationalforest.org



1.       The National Forest area covers 200 square miles of the counties of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire.  Its objective is to increase woodland cover within its boundaries from an initial six per cent to about a third. No multi-purpose forest on this scale has been created in the UK for one thousand years. To date the proportion of woodland cover in the Forest has more than trebled to 19.5 per cent and in 2012 HRH the Duke of Cambridge planted the eight millionth tree in the Forest.

2.       Year by year, The National Forest has been steadily turning what was once one of the least wooded areas of England into a multi-purpose, sustainable forest.  The National Forest provides environmental, social and economic benefits, including landscape enhancement, creation of new wildlife habitats and major new access and leisure opportunities. It is an excellent example of sustainable development – with environmental improvement providing a stimulus both to economic regeneration and to community pride and activity.

3.       To achieve these objectives, the National Forest Company leads the creation of The National Forest, working in partnership with landowners, local authorities, private business, voluntary organisations and local communities and has strong support from Government, politicians and the public.  The Company receives grant in aid from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

4.       The Independent Panel on Forestry, in its final report published in July 2012, stated: ‘The National Forest exemplifies how a long term, resourced and focused agenda can increase publicly accessible woodland in an area alongside other environmental and economic benefits.’

5.       In 2008, the National Forest Company and partners won the inaugural Sustainable Development UK Award, for their work in Ashby Woulds, at the heart of The National Forest.

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UK Forestry Standard and Woodland Management Planning Workshops

posted on December 6, 2013
UKFS tour - download pdf

UKFS tour – download pdf

Sylva’s Alistair Yeomans and Paul Orsi will be speakers at a national workshop tour planned for January and February 2014.  The workshops, organised by the Institute of Chartered Foresters, have been developed to provide an introduction to the UK Forestry Standard and Forestry Commission England’s new management plan template.

The new woodland management plan template aims to support more woodlands into management, to ensure compliance with UKFS, and link in with England’s next Rural Development Programme. The workshops incorporate practical advice on using the templates to improve your plans, while offering a better understanding of the FCE’s approval process, and are particularly valuable for forestry practitioners, agents and woodland owners.

For a full range of dates, locations and information on how to book your place click here



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