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2017 Award for Silviculture

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 2017 winners 

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From the left: Robin Carver (Peacock Wood), Andrew Falcon (Hoveton Estate), Mrs R Carver (Peacock Wood) and Tom Blofeld (Hoveton Estate)

Gold: Hoveton Estate, Norfolk, owned by Sir John and Tom Blofeld

Silver: Peacock Wood, Hole Farm, Hempstead, Norfolk, owned by Airlie Inglis

This Award recognises and encourages exemplary silviculture in commercial woodlands or compartments of less than 30 years age where quality timber or wood fuel production is the primary aim.

Hoveton Estate, Norfolk, owned by Sir John and Tom Blofeld

In 2004 Sir John Blofeld QC, owner of Hoveton House Estate in East Norfolk, challenged hiswoodland manager Andrew Falcom to design and plant four new woodlands, including the 2.9ha

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Hoveton Estate woods, demonstrating wide row widths

Stable Field which was entered into the RFS Silviculture Awards 2017.

The remit was to establish woodlands on arable sandy loam with the prime ambition of high productivity of top quality hardwood timber mid and long term and high volumes of firewood for the local market, short term.

With Hoveton expanding from the South West the remit also leaned towards rapid growth for screening and amenity.

What the judges said: "Stable Field Wood was planted in 2005 on former arable land to produce top quality hardwood timber in the mid to long term, and high volumes of firewood for the local market in the short term.  A high percentage (75 %) of native species was planted in the interests of biodiversity, and use of an innovative sheet mulcher system resulted in excellent survival; there have been no herbicide applications, and deer have been controlled by shooting following evidence of browsing in August 2005.  Thinning started in 2013 (at age eight) and is done to favour the best trees, with the very best individuals (the “winners”) being pruned.  The plantation has recently been thinned for the third time, producing sweet chestnut for stakes and birch for firewood."


Peacock Wood, Hole Farm, Hempstead, Norfolk, owned by Airlie Inglis

Edgefield Little Wood - which includes the 1.6ha Peacock Wood - provided wood and income for Binham Priory for around 900 years. The current owners bought it in 1985 with the aim of producing top quality timber through active management.

Peacock Wood is one of three new compartments planted behind a deer fence and on ground from which mulching machines have removed all stumps - making it easy to maintain. Peacock Wood is divided into four quarters - two of oak and two of chestnut.

What the judges said: " Peacock Wood is part of a larger woodland that is being managed to produce top quality timber.  After clearfelling the previous stand, a mulching machine was used to remove all stumps, the site was deer fenced and divided into four quarters, and planted in 2012 with oak and sweet chestnut (two quarters of each).  Mowing three times a year is done to control the vegetation between alternate rows, giving access to every tree for annual checking, high pruning and de-forking.  Prunings are left on the unmown strips to help maintain soil fertility.  Thinnings should start in about five years’ time and are expected to pay for themselves, with chestnut being sold in the fencing market and oak in the wood burner stove market." 


Case studies featuring previous Silviculture award winners are available here 

These awards are sponsored by:

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