EiF Silviculture Award
Silviculture Award winners 2012
The RFS Silviculture Award recognises and encourages exemplary best practice in silviculture in commercial woodlands where quality timber production is a primary aim.
- 1st: Duchy of Cornwall Restormel Woodlands at Lostwithiel, Cornwall
Tim Oliver from Tubex presents the RFS Silviculture Gold Award to Duchy of Cornwall head forester Geraint Richards for Restormel Woodlands at Lostwithiel, Cornwall.
The judges said: “A delight to visit… The overall standards of management are excellent and clear silvicultural objectives are set and achieved.”
The 80 hectares of woodlands are highly visible, located on valley slopes that can clearly be seen from the town of Lostwithiel, the A390, the London–Penzance railway and from Restormel Castle.
The woodlands are mainly coniferous with a mixture of Douglas fir, larch, sitka spruce, western red cedar and coastal redwood. Some areas have been planted on ancient woodland sites which still retain associated flora and fauna.
Sudden oak death (Phytophthora ramorum) has resulted in the clearance of larch and Duchy head forester Geraint Richards has taken the opportunity to increase species diversity and so oak, ash and sweet chestnut are being established but still with a view to producing high quality timber.
Cornwall has a relatively low area of woodland cover.
Geraint Richards says: “The growing of high-quality timber and wood fuel is a central objective across the Duchy of Cornwall woodland estate. Revenues help pay for the delivery of social and environmental benefits. We are delighted that our work has been recognised.”
There are few public rights of way through the woods, but the Duchy has granted permissive access.
- 2nd Miserden Estate, Stroud, Gloucestershire
Tim Oliver from Tubex presents the RFS Silviculture Award 2012, silver, to Major Tom Wills for Miserden Estate in Stroud, Gloucestershire.
The judges commented: “We greatly approve of the division of the woodland into three working blocks. One area is worked each year, making a management cycle of three years. This has given considerable flexibility when thinning. … Major Tom Wills, the owner, marks all thinnings himself and derives great pleasure from doing so. The resultant stands are excellent.”
The 254 hectares of woodlands are on sloping ground bordering the River Frome and include areas of beech, ash, European larch, Scots pine, Norway spruce and Douglas fir.
Major Tom Wills says: “My aim is to produce quality hardwood saw logs of veneer quality in the long term. I like to mark the thinnings myself and I place a high priority on correct woodland management. My two foresters are very committed and take great pride the woods. We also use a good woodland consultant and an excellent team of contractors for some of the thinnings.”
Softwood logs and bars are sold at the ride side, hardwood thinning are sold for firewood locally.
The estate has recently joined the Natural England Higher Level Scheme and a small area of woodland and rough pasture is managed for butterfly conservation. Foot and bridle paths are well marked across the estate and the village school and scout groups use the woods.