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Whole Society Meeting 2021 - North West Midlands Division


In the light of COVID-19, discussions about the practicalities of running the Whole Society Meeting in 2021 are still underway and an announcement will be made as soon as possible in January.

If you have any queries before then please don't hesitate to email

Below you will find the itinerary of the deferred 2020 Whole Society Meeting which was due to be hosted by the North West Midlands Division in May.

Bifor Rings   Willey Estate
 BiFOR rings at Norbury Park Estate  Willey Estate



Monday 10 May - Ironbridge Gorge

Ironbridge Gorge, designated as a world Heritage site in 1986, is widely acknowledged as the heart of the Industrial Revolution, and is of course the location of the world’s first ‘Iron bridge’. Our hosts for the day, the Severn Gorge Countryside Trust, manage 280 hectares of woodland and grassland habitats along with many associated historic structures. The morning will involve visits to two different CCF sites and will enable discussion of a whole range of issues relating to the management of publicly accessible urban fringe woodland along with the more universal concerns of climate change adaptation, tree diseases and grey squirrels!  Lunch will be at the Museum of Iron, followed by the AGM.  After that there will be an opportunity to explore the nearby Loamhole Dingle, home of the internationally rare Cranefly, Lipsothrix nobilis and the location of a DEFRA Natural Flood Management project as well as to visit a CCF managed plantation established in the 1950’s with poor provenance Fraxinus excelsior. There will be also be alternative morning and afternoon options offered for people who wish to explore the Coalport China Museum and the Museum of Iron.

Tuesday 11 May - Attingham Estate and Willey Estate

AM: Attingham Park Estate covers 1500ha, 210ha of which is deer park, parkland and pleasure grounds, with a Regency mansion at its centre. The National Trust was gifted the estate by the 8th Lord Berwick in 1947. The park was designated as a SIte of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 2000, due to its ancient trees and the many rare species of invertebrates that make their home in them. The amount of deadwood left by standing and fallen trees around the parkland makes it the perfect habitat for a variety of different species, primarily beetles. In the morning we explore the cedar grove, followed by a walk through the parkland to discuss the management of parkland trees, with particular interest in the invertebrates which are protected by the SSSI designation. Lunch will be taken within the Stable Yard.

PM:The Willey Estate woodlands are situated to the south of the Telford New Town and close to the World Heritage Site of Ironbridge. Parts of the woodland date from the 13th century Royal Chase of Shirlett. The total woodland area of 638ha has a long history of active management through the Dedication and latterly Woodland Grant Schemes. The afternoon visit to Shirlett High Park will explore the opportunities and challenges presented in regenerating an existing woodland on wet soils following storm damage in the 1970s and long-term transformation to forms of continuous woodland cover. The day will conclude with tea and cakes at the rideside.

Wednesday 12 May –Norbury Park, Staffordshire

AM: A guided tour of the only forest scale Free Air Carbon Enrichment (FACE) facility in the Northern Hemisphere. The FACE facility is a long-term experiment within a woodland consisting of mature oak, with hazel understorey, that aims to address the fundamental challenges posed to woodlands by climate and environmental change. Teams of research scientists from around the world use this site to investigate complex questions on how the impacts of elevated CO2 will impact trees and woodlands. Following on from this will be a short walk through award winning mixed woodland comprising of over 60 recently planted different species of trees. The estates approach to Grey squirrel control will also be discussed. Lunch will then be provided at the Long barn. 

PM: Continuing the experimental theme by observing a 4.5Ha tree irrigation trial, then Halo thinning of mixed woodland and ending up at the estate sawmill to view the impressive ways to add value to home grown timber. Finishing with tea and cake back at the Long barn.

Thursday 13 May – Cannock Chase

Visit to Forestry England Woods at Cannock Chase, hosted by members of the Forestry England team, with a chance to discuss ground preparation, conversion of pine plantation to other species and direct production harvesting, with a break for lunch at the nearby Spring Slade Lodge café.  The Annual Dinner takes place this evening at the Madeley Court Hotel.   Our after-dinner speaker is Jim Waterson, Principal Lecturer, Forestry and Forest Products at Harper Adams University.

Friday 14 May - Enville Estate (Million Plantation)

The Million Plantation is situated in the western most region of Staffordshire near the village of Enville, which is 15km west of Dudley. The woods extend to just over 220 ha and comprise predominantly Scots and Corsican pine with smaller sections of larch and Western hemlock as well as mixed broadleaves. The plantation is largely even aged in nature with most of the conifers planted between 1945-55.  We will look at and discuss the pros and cons of continuous cover forest management and traditional compartmental clear-fell and restock.

Ironbridge From Rotunda  Enville Crop 4 3 
 Ironbridge Gorge  Million Plantation - Enville Estate