Family Forestry

Family Forestry

Woodlands.co.uk aims to promote ownership of woodlands by people who will conserve and enjoy the woodlands through active, hands-on management.  Very many of the buyers of small woodlands are families.  For many woodlands family ownership and management has lots of advantages over traditional methods:


- Family forestry often leads to a longer-term view with parents and children looking to a woodland staying in the family of at least two generations;

-  through ownership that includes children there is great deal of learning by doing and “learning by being there” for children and teenagers.

- family ownership usually means that a team of people are involved in the management decisions;

- extended families are often included and invited to enjoy and work in the woodlands;


The concept of family forestry has been around a long time and is well recognised in many other countries.  There is an international body working for family forest owners which claims to represent over 25 million owners worldwide; http://www.familyforestry.net.  Also Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway have an organisation representing family forest owners that, as one would expect, is very focused on softwood production.  Its website is at http://www.nordicforestry.org

The UK’s institutions are adjusting to the new pattern of ownership that is emerging and starting to adapt their services and policies, but forestry is always a long term business and it will take a while for the ownership changes that are happening to be widely recognised.  You may have suggestions about policy changes that will be necessary to accommodate and support this “new breed of owners”.  Please post suggestions here for discussion.

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Hi, Im looking for about 1-2 acres of coppice in kent. Does anyone have any ideas or know anybody who might be interested in parting with a small area of a larger woodland.

All pointers suggestions very gratefully recieved


Tom Cann

11 December, 2012

On Friday 30th October three generations of our family spent a wonderful day in our small woodland (8.5 Acres). Not only did we enjoy the wonderfully peaceful surroundings, but also spent time looking and identifying fungi & plants, plenty of work was done including brash and bramble clearance, planting half a bucket of Sweet Chestnuts (and eating lots too ! – this was the first year we were able to collect a reasonable harvest). We finished enclosing an acre with deer proof ( I hope ) netting, and creating gates. Hopefully, next month we will be able to plant trees to increase stock density ( home grown ).

Our neighbouring woodland owners also regularly visit and work their woodland as a family group – again three generations.

I studied woodland management at Merrist Wood and try to educate the rest of the family in woodland ways – I recently started instructing my 15 year old son in the basics of chainsawing, hopefully in a year or two we can share the heavy workload.

Since we bought our wood, my children have seen Lizards, Snakes, Slow worms and many other woodland species, that they would probably never otherwise come across – there is nothing they enjoy more than taking new visitors around our wood showing them these treasures – this is woodland management by osmosis – we dont push them to come with us, or lecture them about such stuff – they have just developed a love of wildlife themselves.

Try it ! Let them use traditional tools – Billhooks, Axes and saws ( supervised to start with ) it gives them a sense of worth and achievement.

We are clearing out Japanese Larch to be replaced with English Oak – I wont see the end results, but my children and their children will.

Who knows, in a few years it may be four generations in the woods, hang around and I’ll let you know.

Ranger Dave

2 November, 2009