estate’s woods were last
"commercially" thinned in 1999,
when most of the conifers were thinned for
silvicultural reasons. At that time, the estate employed a forester, Peter Bellamy,
who maintained the woods and produced a
certain amount of timber.
Since his departure in 2002, very
little management has taken place, and we
were keen that again the softwoods should
receive a gentle thinning for silvicultural
Therefore during the first half of
2006, the estate engaged Tilhill to carry
out some forestry operations in some of the
majority of the work was carried out by a
harvesting gang using a mechanised
harvester, two forwarders, a skidder and a
It was a frightening amount of
machinery but the whole operation was
uneconomic as it was without trying to fund
it by hand cutting and less destructive
means of timber extraction.
removed over 1000 tonnes of timber, half of
which only netted 50p/tonne as chipwood!
We hope that by the next time the
woods need thinning, a viable market in
perhaps woodfuel will have emerged for
left standing dead trees as habitat for
wildlife where they posed no danger to
public rights of way, and the lop & top
to mulch on the forest floor.
wood on the outskirts of Shipley is divided
into two compartments.
The “top” half is pure Corsican
pine which we thinned by about 30%, avoiding
the hobby’s nest, and taking down four
hazardous trees adjacent to the public
This is probably the last thin this
wood will need until final clear fell in
maybe 10 years time, if that is the method
of forestry selected at that time.
Wood North - In
the heart of the village, we were keen to
remove the artificial looking Scots pine
planted in a line adjacent to Kings Platt
field, and also the large pines overhanging
the high voltage lines and the edge of
Shipley village for safety reasons.
We did receive a call asking us not
to chop down all the pines, as the
nightingales sing from them.
We hope that they continue to do so.
Wood South - Here
we thinned by hand by gently re-spacing, as
the trees were not of sufficient size to use
One day this should make a nice wood
and hopefully we removed enough trees to
allow some sunshine to the forest floor this
Wood - Opposite
the Countryman pub, again we re-spaced this
wood by hand rather than mechanically.
Lag Poplars - Here
we felled all of the poplars, originally
planted to make Bryant & May
The poplars were not doing well, but
had reached maturity.
Unfortunately their market had
completely disappeared so they were
We also felt that they were unsightly
(albeit striking), and non-native.
We intend to replant with native
black poplar and a suitable riverside native
mix as recommended by the Sussex Floodplain
Furzefield - A
sweet chestnut wood originally planted with
three rows of Scots pine surrounding it
which looked very artificial.
We felled the majority of the pines,
leaving the odd clump for the buzzards to
Cockshill Wood - Behind
our estate Woodyard, a part of the wood to
the east of the main ride is a Scots pine
plantation which received a 30% thin.
Cockshills Wood - In
the heart of Pondtail Farm, we removed a
block of Norway spruce in the middle to
allow the area to naturally regenerate and
thinned the remaining Corsican pine.
The spruce was not doing well - the
site was obviously not suitable and it was
very dense and suppressing all of the
Copse - We
coppiced an area of mixed hardwoods to allow
new coppice to grow, leaving the few
remaining poplars to act as a bit of a nurse
crop for the few straggly oaks and the
coppice stools left behind.
The theory being that the poplars
will not cast too much of a shadow on the up
and coming crop. The truth is we forgot to fell the poplars when the
contractors were on site!
We also thinned an area of Corsican
pine elsewhere in the wood, and removed
about 70% of the poplars between Alder Copse
and Hartsgravel woods.
Wood - We
scrubbed out about one acre of rhododendron
within this wood.
Cover Furzefield West - Conifers,
mostly Scots pine thinned to final crop.
Cover Furzefield South & Coates Wood - The
spruce and pine were thinned all the way
down through the wood from the pylons to
Furzefield - This is a lovely wood that was
replanted after the 1987 storm & since
then the wood has become home to an amazing
display of wild daffodils.
Charlie also saw a Common
or Viviparous Lizard by the pond this
Here we thinned the wood by hand,
gently re-spacing the trees and scalloping
Nursery - This
20 year old plantation adjacent to the A272
has never been thinned.
We took out every forth row by
machine to make it accessible, and then gave
it a selective thinning by hand.
Rew - This
poplar was about 36 years old, - Pete
Butcher can remember it being planted.
The site was obviously perfect as it
produced a perfect crop of worthless timber
which will be used to make fruit boxes and
We had been trying to find a market
for the timber for some time, and did get
excited a few years ago by a coffin maker
who used poplar, however the site was so
tricky that felling costs again made the
The aim here is to let the alder
& willow to naturally regenerate to
naturalise the tail of the Kneppmill pond.
Plantation - We
thinned the main block of Scots pine by
about 30% and removed all the pine on the
western side of the track adjacent to the
On the east side of the track, we
thinned reasonably heavily up to Hillhouse
farmhouse – this is a younger plantation
and was its first thin.
wood, planted when Charlie was born in 1962,
is being managed for autumn colours and so
we thinned out an equal amount of both larch
This should not only allow the crowns
of the trees to mature, but also should
allow more light onto the forest floor to
enable the ground flora to prosper.
Grounds - This
Victorian arboretum was underplanted during
Sir Walter’s time with nothofagus
(southern beech), Norway spruce, larch and
Our plan is to selectively remove the
majority of these trees until we ultimately
restore the arboretum to some of its former
This time we left clumps of the young
trees for further thinning to final stem in
Wood - Situated
in the heart of the deer park, but mostly
fenced from the grazing animals, the eastern
side of the wood has had the hazel coppiced
and about 20 large oaks felled to allow
light to encourage the coppice to re-grow.
On the western side of the wood we
cleared out the Scots pine and the poplar in
the wood, both of which were doing badly.
What is left behind in this half of
the wood is a bit of a jungle of mixed
hardwoods which should start to self-thin
in Centre of A24 – Bar Cover Furzefield
East - A
surprisingly lovely mixed-age wood
surrounded by dual carriageway.
It cost over £3000 just to extract
the timber that we cut from this wood due to
the traffic management that had to be put in
The main purpose for tackling this
plantation was to deal with the mature pines
that had been dying adjacent to the A24.
We took down all within striking
distance of the road, and thinned the rest
of wood, using an arboriculturalist to
advise which other roadside trees should be
Such a pity about the location of
Wood - Situated
on Hooklands Lane, half of this wood is a
pine plantation which we thinned about 30
– 40% of the Corsican and Scots pine to
assist with the natural regeneration of the
What’s left is a very nice stand of
pine that in 10 years will be ready for
Wood - Situated
north of the A272 near Dragons Green, we
thinned a small number of mature Corsican
pines out of the eastern compartment.
the conifers now thinned, we are considering
an operation to harvest some of the estate's
wonderful oaks to supply timber for a
building program co-sponsored by
DEFRA. 7 sets of traditional farm
buildings are to be restored over the next
ten years, and our hope is to use timber
felled from the estate.