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Silviculture Award 2018

This Award is to recognise and encourage exemplary silviculture in commercial woodland or compartments of established crops less than 30 years of age where wood production is the primary aim.

Gold: Timberline Wood, near Madley, Herefordshire, owned by Duchy of Cornwall

Silver: Westonbirt National Arboretum near Tetbury, Gloucestershire, owned by Forestry Commission England

Certificate of Merit: Combe Sydenham, Monksilver, Taunton, owned by Theed Forestry Estates

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Timberline Wood – showing experimental planting of walnut with judge Christine Cahalan taking notes. Pic credit: RFS/Owen Davies 

Graham Taylor, centre, receives the award for the Duchy of Cornwall with, from left, RFS President Andrew Woods, Simon Place from Tubex, Julian Ohlsen from Tilhill and  architect/presenter Piers Taylor.Pic Credit:RFS/BrianMartin 

Gold: Timberline Wood, near Madley, Herefordshire, owned by Duchy of Cornwall

Judges praised it for “exceptionally high quality silviculture and excellent marketing of products.

The primary objective at the 140ha Timberline Wood is the production of high quality broadleaved and coniferous timber via continuous cover forestry management.

All planting stock is UK-grown but some improved seed sources from France and Germany have been used as well. The site contains a number of oak, ash and chestnut plus trees, which have been included in the breeding programmes coordinated by the Future Trees Trust (FTT). Timberline Wood also hosts an archive collection of sweet chestnut genetic material for FTT. Trials with a variety of minor broadleaved species are underway, including wild service tree and walnut (common and black).

Most firewood is sold locally; Good quality timber is felled by specialist contractors and extracted to roadside to be sold by tender. Recent parcels have included good beaming and planking quality oak and good quality 40’ Douglas fir logs for structural timbers.

Sweet chestnut material is often processed in the wood-yard by the Estate staff, either as agricultural stock fencing or as cleft post and rail material. Larger chestnut butts are often retained in the yard and milled into beams, posts or cladding for use on the Estate or for sale to third parties.


 

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Silk Wood, Westonbirt: showing the long process of coppice restoration Credit RFS Owen Davies Coppicer Brian Williamson, centre, with Westonbirt Curator Mark Ballard, left, and Westonbirt Director Andrew Smith. Pic Credit: RFS/BrianMartin

Silver: Westonbirt National Arboretum near Tetbury, Gloucestershire, owned by Forestry Commission England

Judges made the award for “exceptionally high quality silviculture in restoring neglected coppice”

The history of coppicing at Silk Wood dates back to 1292 but ceased in the 1930s. By 1979 the FC and Gloucestershire Trust for Nature Conservation began re-cutting some of the derelict hazel on a ten-year cycle. Further cutting occurred in the 1990s until about 2000. Brian Williamson, the present day lead coppicer, commenced in 2003. A range of coppice products is now produced and sold.

Target spacing of stools is 1.2m-2.4m. Hazel is cut as low as possible (5cm maximum) not only to encourage straight regrowth, but also to encourage the development of new roots from the base of the new shoots. Much emphasis is placed on genetic quality of restocking hence layering from existing stools that have produced good product. Thinning of the overstorey is continuing with an aim to reduce to 20%.

Coupes are arranged to be contiguous; for coppice quality this reduces edge effect minimizing shading and reducing pressure of deer browse at the edge and for wildlife it enables less mobile species to follow the cycle more readily. Since 2015 deer control has been greatly aided by temporary fencing.


 

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Combe Sydenham – a fine stand of Douglas fir, part of the owner’s vision of ‘growing houses’ for local communities Pic credit: RFS/Owen Davies William Theed, centre, receives the award with, from left, RFS President Andrew Woods, Simon Place from Tubex, Julian Ohlsen from Tilhill and  architect/presenter Piers Taylor.Pic Credit:RFS/BrianMartin 

Certificate of Merit: Combe Sydenham, Monksilver, Taunton, owned by Theed Forestry Estates

Judges praised William Theed’s “vision and commitment to growing houses”.

The Estate entered a 6.8ha area of pure Douglas fir into the award. The land had originally been two agricultural fields which had had limited productive value. In 1988 it was decided to plant Douglas fir there under a Forestry Grant Scheme. The aim was to produce high quality timber for the building trade with thinnings and windfall for the woodchip and market and onsite sawmill.

Douglas Fir transplants of Darington provenance were chosen and plated barefoot, brashing was carried out at year 10 and the crop had a first thin at year 19. Ideally over time, the Estate hopes to convert to continuous cover if natural regeneration occurs.”

 

 These awards were sponsored by: 

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