Looking after a woodland

Do as much or little as you want

The great thing about woodlands is that they are largely self-managing - after all, they looked after themselves for millions of years before people came along. However, many owners want to manage their woods actively to promote biodiversity, or to create glades or to grow timber. The process needn't take much time or expense, but for enthusiasts it can be a great hobby - a bit like managing a tree collection or a wildlife park (but on a smaller scale!).

Support for new owners

Woodlands.co.uk offers heaps of support for owners such as paying £300 for a course on anything connected with woodlands - maybe you'll do chainsaw training or go on a wildlife photography course. We also introduce new owners to any good local contractors and introduce you to other woodland owners nearby (only if you want that) and you get free membership of the Small Woodland Owners Group ("SWOG") and various other woodland support organisations.

Creating a base camp

As an owner you have very few obligations but many opportunities. The main obligation is to avoid having dangerous trees near to public roads or footpaths. In terms of opportunities, some people create clearings/glades, some plant new trees, many will establish a "base camp" from which they enjoy and manage the wood. Usually owners can get their cars right into their woodland which is useful for carrying tools and other equipment.

Many different approaches are possible

When you first buy your wood it seems a bit of a mystery but as you get to know it you'll discover what's in it and detect what its recent history has been. The key is to decide what your objectives are - some owners are very non-interventionist whilst others have a hands-on approach and want to shape the woodland over a few years.

Family Forestry

An owner can get a lot done for very little money - hand tools don't cost much and working on your woodland is good exercise. Lots of families involve their friends and families and carry out tasks communally. This is immensely fulfilling as it creates bonds, represents a shared endeavour and, with more people, you can get more done. Projects that have worked well are: new planting, clearing paths, building bridges over streams, putting up swings, or building dens.