Now that the golf course is off the menu for the woods the option to sell the woodland is back on the agenda and one of the suggested uses is as commercial forestry. Is this a bad thing? Well no, I don’t think so, for a number of reasons.
Broughton Woods – the local name for the woods within Broughton Village – are mainly Plantation of Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS) which means that they are ancient woodland and have been woodland for at least four hundred years, but in the last fifty years or so non-native, commercial timber has been planted on the site.
But forestry practices have changed since the last lot of trees were planted and modern forestry would manage these woods in a very different way.
Any felling has to be done with the permission of the Forestry Commission. The Forestry Commission are well aware that the site is ancient and will not be allowing a total clear fell. Any felling would have to be followed by replanting or natural regeneration and with the way that the current timber market is going the new trees would be predominantly native.
To make the site economically viable any new owner would probably look to the Forestry Commission for grant support which would tie them even closer into PAWS restoration and bring biodiversity benefits as the wood gradually returned to a more natural composition. But even better than that, grant support is available for access, which could reinstate the access which was so precipitately removed when the application for the golf course was submitted.
So actually, the site being bought for forestry purposes could be just the thing that the woods and the village are looking for – good management and access for quiet recreation.
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