EiF Multipurpose Award
2015 - Royal Forestry Society Duke of Cornwall's Excellence In Forestry Multipurpose Award
Sponsored by John Clegg & Co
This Award recognises how woodlands can be managed in a way that is sympathetic to the landscape, conserving and enhancing the wildlife value for both the short- and long-term, while remaining consistent with the primary purpose of sustainable timber production.
The Gold award went to Llewesog Estate, Llanrhaeadr, Denbigh, owned by Mr Bill Williams. Joint Silver awards were won by: Coed Nant yr Eira, near Welshpool, owned by Frank, Bechade, McComb Woodlands and by Wentwood, between Usk and Chepstow, owned by Coed Cadw (The Woodland Trust).
|John Clegg, left, with owner Bill Williams, centre, and RFS President Sir Jack Whitaker|
These 120ha woodlands are in the foothills below the Hiraethog platueau. The present owner took over management 50 years ago at a time when the woodlands had been neglected. An intensive programme of felling and replanting followed, together with construction of access roads and tracks. The objective is to have mixed age hardwoods and conifers in each woodland block to provide the best conditions for wildlife, game cover and visual amenity. Markets include wood fuel, large conifer logs, ash butts for Hurley-stick making, rustic poles and specific deliveries of cherry, burr oak and western red cedar.
Mr Williams won the Duke of Cornwall Award for the same woodlands 29 years ago!
What the judges said: "In an extremely close competition Llewesog was the winner for two main reasons:the variety and quality of the woodlands, with outstanding examples of quality broadleaves, including oak, ash and cherry, and equally good conifers, notably Douglas fir and Western red cedar, and well planned mixture....(and) the extremely attractive appearance of the woods, both externally and within."
What the owner said: " There is a great advantage to having a keepered estate. We have a splendid variety of small birds because squirrel and magpie are rigorously controlled. There is a benefit for wildlife to having mixed woods with varying age group in each area of the wood."
Coed Nant yr Eira
|John Clegg with Diane Frank and RFS President Sir Jack Whitaker|
Coed Nant yr Eira exemplifies a new type of structurally diverse and productive woodland designed for resilience and adaptation to climate change. The woodland was established as a plantation in and around 1969 as Sitka and Norway spruce monoculture and has now been largely restructured to provide a mosaic of small coupes as well as some more irregular stands. All re-stocking and enrichment planting is with multiple broadleaved and conifer species injecting species diversity to structural irregularity. The infrastructure development has enhanced the capital value of the forest and allows managers to optimise the commercial outputs from all areas of the woodland. A forest inventory has established a baseline from which to monitor the increment of the forest and to regulate production. The irregular stand structures provide a varied internal landscape on different scales benefiting both internal and external views as well as maintaining continuity allowing the development of complex ecosystems and habitats. Irregular stand structures provide conditions where native flora will co-exist with productive woodlands. Quality timber production marries with ecosystem services and environmental protection. Integrated objectives of management make Nant yr Eira diverse, resilient, productive and a beautiful place.
What the judges said: "A difficult exposed site, very prone to windthrow, has been managed very well, with the development of alternative continuous cover silviculture to the clearfelling approach adopted previously. Exceptional record keeping in relation to all aspects of management, including monitoring tree growth and timber production, was most impressive, as was the marketing of forest products..."
What the owners said: "We are delighted to receive this award recognising how productive woodlands also provide multipurpose benefits. We have seen the trees grow and be harvested over the years and how the forest enhances the landscape, supports wildlife and protects water, especially now at a time when forests have to be robust and adaptable in a changing world.”
|John Clegg with Barry Embling from Coed Cadw and RFS President Sir Jack Whitaker|
Wentwood forms part of the largest block of ancient woodland in Wales. It is now planted with conifers and as such is a planted ancient woodland site (PAWS). The site is managed for: public access and education (with Natural Resources Wales); timber production (4000 tonnes per annum), mainly of Douglas fir, Norway spruce and larch; conservation - gradual restoration through thinning is benefiting native flora and fauna; community benefits and involvement - through open access, recreational events and special interest groups.
What the judges said: "We were very impressed with the steps being taken by the Coed Cadw manager under difficult circumstances on an exposed site to improve woodland species diversity and structure by careful thinning and enrichment planting to supplement natural regeneration where required, and by maintaining large open areas for wildlife and amenity. A close link has been developed with NRW who manage the adjoining woodland, to ensure continuity of woodland design and management, with the replacement of clearfelling by continuous cover forestry as and when possible."
What the owner said: "Since acquiring our holding at Wentwood, Coed Cadw have been actively managing the site with full stakeholder involvement, aiming for best silvicultural, conservation and people outcomes, and we’re very pleased to receive this multi-purpose RFS forestry award that recognises this."