The Balcombe Estate’s Woodlands has been actively managed by the Greenwood family for over 60 years. Over the years, The Estate’s woodlands and sawmill have won many prestigious prizes for silviculture as well as their educational stand at the South of England Show.
There are approximately 1,250 acres of mixed woodland across the Estate 3,500 acres. The woodland is comprised of both Ancient Semi Natural Woodland (woodland that has been in existence since 1600), Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites and plantation woodlands.
The mix is around 50% broadleaved and 50% coniferous woodland.
Much of our ASNW and other broadleaved woodland is managed as continuous cover forestry in order to maintain the local landscape and wildlife habitats. Any produce harvested is processed in our own sawmill and used for construction, building restoration, landscaping, fencing or wood fuel.
The Estate’s chestnut woodlands are coppiced on a 15-20 year rotation with products being used for fencing materials and heating grade wood fuel. Traditional coppice management provides a diverse habitat for a multitude of flora and fauna by having a range of age classes and stages of growth within the coppiced woodland.
Our coniferous woodlands are managed on the clear-cutting system, with young trees being planted in abundance in order that the best examples can be selected and grown to maturity through a thinning-out process. This thinning process also gives more light and space for trees to grow to maturity and provides sustainable woodland products which are processed on-site or at other local mills. Thinning is an essential part of woodland management that ensures woodlands and forests develop into the enjoyable open space we see in our landscape. Following several thinning cycles (6-8 years each cycle) the mature trees are clear-felled and subsequently re-planted and the cycle starts over. Our felling coupes are relatively small and we generally retain some edge trees to maintain the landscape.
We have a Forestry Commission-approved management plan as well as being certificated by the Forest Stewardship Council ®
Forestry and woodland management is a valuable part of the rural economy providing not only sustainable, natural resources but also local employment as well as the associated health benefits of living near green spaces.
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