From Monday 10th January 2022 we’ll have contractors on site at our Shocott Spring site between Shortstown and Cotton End doing some necessary thinning works as part of the ongoing sustainable management of this woodland. We’re expecting that works shouldn’t take longer than 3 weeks.

Please follow all safety notices whilst on site - be aware of large vehicle movements, don’t approach contractors while they are working with machinery and keep children closely supervised and dogs on leads. Visitors will already know that there is no parking on site, but unfortunately we have to ask that no vehicles are parked at the entrance to Shocott Spring (even temporarily for pick-ups and drop-offs) for the duration of the works to allow clear, safe access for forestry equipment and large vehicles.

What is ‘thinning’ and why is it necessary?

Shocott Spring was planted around 15 years ago, and is our only Community Woodland which was planted with areas of mixed deciduous (hardwood) trees and coniferous (softwood) woodland.

The areas that our contractors will be working on is a mix of English oak, Corsican pine and hybrid larch, all planted in 2006. Because the conifers have grown much quicker than deciduous trees, the oaks have become heavily shaded with the larch and pine taking over. This also creates a biodiversity blackspot, because the woodland floor is currently too dark to support any ground flora.

Our contractors will be using machinery to thin two areas (covering just under 4ha in total) and felling around 25% of the conifers under an approved Forestry Commission Felling Licence. By removing this number of larger conifers we’ll allow more light and space for the slower growing oak (and the remaining larch and pine) to flourish in the future. The increased light should also encourage ground flora to establish and grow, increasing the woodlands value for wildlife.

The trees will be felled using a harvesting machine which will cut the tree and remove all the branches, leaving the cut timber on the ground. This timber will then be picked up by the forwarding trailer, stacked on the edge of the woodland ready to be collected and taken away by a timber lorry for chipping and selling as fuel. Profit from the sale of the timber comes directly back to our charity to help us care for the woodland across the Forest and plant more trees as part of our cyclical – and more importantly, sustainable – Forest plan.

We’ll be leaving branches from the felled trees on the woodland floor. It may look messy to visitors unfamiliar with wildlife management, but dead and decaying wood is an important and often overlooked part of a woodland habitat. The branches will also provide some protection for germinating plants from grazing animals, like deer and rabbits.

We know that Shocott Spring is a much-loved site, and that work may look quite drastic because of the rapid change in the appearance of the woodland, but from our experience we know how quickly plants will grow and wildlife will re-establish as this woodland moves into it’s next phase of maturity.

Do you love Shocott Spring? Help look after it

We maintain our Community Woodlands throughout the year, including thinning them as part of ongoing woodland management. Contrary to popular belief, they can’t just look after themselves – over hundreds of years the plants and wildlife of woodlands have become accustomed to being managed so without it they wouldn’t thrive. Help us grow a strong, resilient Forest for generations to come.

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