The 160 hectares of woodlands on the Gatley Estate are typical of many lowland estates; a number of woods of varying sizes with high amenity value and significant areas of semi-natural broadleaf woodland as well as productive conifer stands.
The objectives of management have been to maximise timber production whilst maintaining the amenity value, improving biodiversity and ensuring the continued success of the pheasant shoot. The more productive stands have been improved through a programme of selective thinning and felling and, in order to maximise timber revenues, the estate is independently certified under the UK Woodland Assurance Scheme.
Over the last 10 years we have been successful in securing grant packages from the Forestry Commission to support the delivery of ‘public goods’. This support ended in 2017 and in April 2018 an application was submitted to Natural England for the Countryside Stewardship Scheme Woodland Improvement Grant. Under this scheme a grant of £100 per hectare per annum is available over a period of 5 years towards the cost of maintaining and improving woodland biodiversity.
The Gatley Estate application involves:
- 9 kilometres of ride management work with the aim of improving woodland bird and butterfly habitat
- Coppicing 5 hectares of hazel understorey
- Thinning 33 hectares of non-productive broadleaf woodland
- Identification and management of 20 veteran trees