Regular visitors to Escot Estate, including local dog walkers, will notice some changes to the woodland once all the footpaths are reopened after Beautiful Days.
This is part of careful woodland management, which ultimately is better for the environment. Below, we have explained why trees have been felled.
There are a number of ‘blocks’ of woodland across Escot Estate which are managed on a 10 year rolling plan.
Over time we are reducing historic blocks of what is termed monoculture, such as solid fir plantations, in favour of species rich variable planting. In addition, where possible we are adopting ‘Continuous Cover Forestry’. This means that we are allowing the trees to seed naturally, so that there are a range of ages, from saplings to mature trees.
To achieve this there has to be periodic selective harvesting of the timber to allow light to reach the woodland floor. This not only encourages seed germination but also improves light for ground cover and woodland bulbs such as bluebells. Everyone who walks at Escot knows and appreciates the wonderful carpets of bluebells each May.
All felling that takes place has to be approved by the Forestry Commission. Due to our innovation and good practice at Escot we are eligible for a biodiversity grant from the FC and we often host gatherings of foresters who are keen to see our good example.
As with every year, during the Beautiful Days festival period, the public footpaths were closed across the Estate. This year, we took advantage of the opportunity of this to work with heavy machinery in Black Aller Wood with the least impact on walkers. The footpath here runs through the middle of this woodland, and if we’d done the work at another time, the woods would have had to be marshalled and potentially temporarily closed during operations.
In order to support biodiversity we need to leave at least 20% dead wood, standing or felled, as habitat. While the woodland at Escot looks different to what people are used to, please be assured that it is beneficial for woods in the long term. Thank you for your understanding.