The 400 acres of woodlands on the Gatley Estate are typical of many lowland estates with woods of varying sizes, often challenging access, a range of species and high amenity value
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 compartments have been improved through a programme of selective thinning and felling and, in order to maximise timber revenues, the Estate is certified under the UK Woodland Assurance Scheme.
Following the successful implementation of several Forestry Commission grant schemes we applied in 2018 for a Natural England Higher Tier Countryside Stewardship Scheme which pays a grant of £100 per hectare per year for 5 years on the woodlands. The scheme includes:
- 9 kilometres of ride management work with the aim of improving the habitat for woodland birds and butterflies.
- Coppicing 5 hectares of hazel understorey.
- Thinning 33 hectares of broadleaved woodland.
- The management of 20 veteran trees.
Andrew Bronwin and his team have worked with us on our woodland management for sixteen years at the Gatley Park Estate. There are many challenges with 140 hectares in 35 parcels, on steep sites. With excellent planning, we have had five-year agreements with the FC in place, which has enabled thinning programmes to proceed, as well as clear fell and replanting.
Contractors have been appointed by Andrew Bronwin and Co, and timber marketed. We have chosen the best time to work for ecology and ground conditions. Brash raking and track repairs are undertaken as part of the operation.
A Woodland Higher Tier Countryside Stewardship Scheme is supporting forest management through ride management, coppicing, fencing deer and squirrel control. The woods are certified under the company’s group Soil Association scheme.
The result has been positive financial returns over the period of the company’s involvement. Andrew and his staff have a great attitude to achieve progressive woodland management.
Stuart Hutchings, Gatley Park Estate