One of our current projects is the Woodland Advisory Service, which is about to come to an end after 3 years. This service was available to any owner of unmanaged woodland in Cumbria of one acre or over, and was created with the aim of increasing the area of woodland in better management throughout the county, raising awareness of the potential of woodlands for everything from reducing your heating bill by burning wood to creating wildlife habitats. We have visited over 430 woodlands to date under this scheme, totalling over 4300ha.
The service was divided into three tiers - Silver Birch (free service), Oak and Woodfuel & Renewable Energy.
The Project Services
The main services within the project were to:
- Provide an advisory site visit. For existing woodland, the site visit may cover issues such as thinning, coppicing, grazing, silviculture, natural regeneration and invasive/non-native species. For woodland establishment, advice would include species choice, protection against browsing, ground preparation and aftercare.
- Write a report tailored to your objectives.
- Advise on sources of grant aid.
- Signpost enquirers to other sources of advice and information where queries are beyond our area of expertise.
- Liaise with the Forestry Commission to help you obtain the best grant package available.
- Source subsidised training
Access The Service
What can you do if you own a woodland and have only just found out about the Woodland Advisory Service?
We are working on a scaled down version of our Woodland Advisory Service where you can access a woodland adviser though our website. This will hopefully be available by the end of the summer. Please contact us for further information, or to go on the waiting list for this.
Firstly, have you got a Woodland Management Plan?
If your wood is more than 3ha then to draw down any forestry grants in future you will need a Woodland Management Plan. It is good practise to have a document that you can refer to and if for some reason you no longer have custody of the woodland then the management prescription can carry on without you. The Forestry Commission provide the Woodland Planning Grant (WPG) of £1000 (minimum) to write a plan. Your woodland adviser can help you with this.
I have all my woods in Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) or Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) can I still get forestry grants?
If you are just going into a Stewardship scheme then any areas of woodland over 3ha should be left out and be included in the England Woodland Grant Scheme (EWGS) instead. However the two schemes do co-exist providing that you do not end up with double funding. If your woodlands are already in ELS or HLS then a Woodland Planning Grant would be no problem and certain capital items as long as they are not being funded through the Stewardship payments. If you are considering planting areas of new woodland you are better keeping it out of Stewardship (or taking it out) and getting a Woodland Creation Grant (WCG) from the Forestry Commission.
We will normally refer customers to a private sector woodland advisor when a grant aid application form needs completing or when work needs supervising on the ground.
Unfortunately, where enquirers have very small areas of existing woodland, or propose to plant a relatively small number of trees, we will not be able to provide a site visit. However, we will endeavour to provide advice and signposting over the telephone.