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Becoming a woodland owner

As the owner of a woodland, you will have a freedom to do lots of things, perhaps for the first time. Without getting anyone’s permission, you will be able to bring along your tent and camp overnight, in whatever part of your wood you choose. You will be free to clear the undergrowth to make a level space for the tent, hang your belongings on convenient tree branches, and park your car nearby, within the wood. You can clear paths for exploring your wood and cut back brambles and bracken. You can make a small clearing and light a camp fire and boil a kettle. Friends and family can come along and share this freedom with you, exploring your wood and climbing your trees.

In the longer term, you will be able to see the results of your labours. Where you have cut back to let in more light, you may discover bluebells, or other wild flowers, coming up. Trees you have planted will grow year by year until they, too, cast shade. Be sure to take lots of photos at the very beginning, so that in years to come you can marvel at the way everything has grown, and at the difference you have made. Nearly all of the photos on our website were taken by small woodland owners, so if you have any particularly good photos of your wood, or of people doing interesting things in your wood, please do share them with us.

There are, of course, a few things that are regulated, and a few aspects that you may like to research. We have very briefly explained these on the following pages. For instance, you can find out about the Forestry Commission, and their tree felling regulations, the meaning of Tree Preservation Orders and Sites of Special Scientific Interest. There are regulations, too, on what structures you can build in your woodland, for shelter or for storage. You may want reassurance that you will always have access through the locked gate and along the shared tracks. You could think about whether you need insurance. And last but not least, what do you do for a loo?

To learn more, you can read books, go on courses, join woodland organisations, subscribe to woodland publications, contact the local Forestry Commission and talk to other owners through SWOG

Being in your own wood and trying things out, reflecting and experiencing for yourself – these will be the best teacher of all!

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