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EiF Small Woodland Award


2015 - RFS Excellence in Forestry Small Woodlands Award

Sponsored by Wood-Mizer UK

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The RFS Excellence in Forestry Small Woodland Awards recognise and reward projects where smaller woodlands are managed on a multipurpose basis with clearly stated objectives. Woodlands may be recent or old but must have been established for at least 10 years and of a maximum size of 20 hectares.

The Gold Award went to Bron Haul woodland at Abergele, Conwy, owned by David Brown and Ruth Pybus. Silver was won by Coed Medvegii at St Asaph, Denbigshire, owned by Denis and Heather Fitzgerald.

Gold Award: Bron Haul woodland at Abergele, Conwy, owned by David Brown and Ruth Pybus. 

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RFS Chief Executive Simon Lloyd,left, with owners Ruth Pybus and David Brown and RFS President Sir Jack Whitaker








This 16ha woodland is managed for production of quality hardwood timber and coppice products whilst exploring opportunities for improving biodiversity and making a positive contribution to carbon capture and storage, solar energy capture and soil building services. Exotic alder, planted as a nursery crop, has been removed and oak, cherry, ash and sweet chestnut pruned.Under Glastir Woodland Management, thinning operations remove poor stems and favour oak. High pruning continues.

What the judges said: They were impressed by the wide ranging but realistic objectives with coppice and thinnings providing some early income. Judges added: "Their energy and enthusiasm had to be seen to be believed and they scored highly for quality of management, suitability of species, maintenance and enhancement of wildlife conservation, landscape planning, education (students and school and community groups visit the woods), and provision of access." 

What the owners said: "This award reinforces our belief in our approach to woodland management. It gives us confidence in our ideas and practices as we look to share our enthusiasm and skills for growing quality broadleaf timber to others. We are grateful for the helpful and positive comments of the judges."


Silver Award: Coed Medvegii at St Asaph, Denbigshire, owned by Denis and Heather Fitzgerald

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RFS Chief Executive Simon Lloyd with owner Heather Fitzgerald and RFS President Sir Jack Whitaker






This 2.5ha woodland is on an exposed hillside site which had been grazed bare by sheep. In 1987 the owners set about planting 850 conifers along the windiest edge and then planted the highest field with broadleaf in 1989, primarily as a wildlife habitat but with the aim of producing coppice with some standards. Twenty years ago the lower field was given over to a biomass experiment and many blocks of research trees now have dense scrub as ground cover, providing high concentration of cover for warblers and other woodland birds. To date the owners have planted around12,000 trees and over100 species.

What the judges said: They were impressed by  "...a series of species biomass trials including both native broadleaves, conifers, and (of special interest to the judges) a range of eucalyptus species, some of which had produced exceptionally high yields of material now being used to fire a biomass boiler that heats the house and associated commercial buildings. Many bird boxes had been installed and several ponds dug and there has been an explosion of wildlife, notably birds, compared with before planting."

What the owners said: "We are grateful and delighted to have won this award.We started with a bare windswept hillside 30 years ago, and now have a sheltered wildlife haven. The trees give a place where we and others can wander at leisure and enjoy the sights, sounds and colours of nature, as well as providing us with more than enough fuel to heat the house and the business. It will also possibly provide some useful timber for future generations."



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