Felling at Longwood Noss plantation

Downs copse woods at Greenway, Devon

Longwood is an ancient oak woodland with an industrial past on the edge of the river Dart between Kingswear and Galmpton. In the 1940's a commercial plantation was added of larch and Douglas fir, called Noss plantation. Over the last 70 odd years this plantation has been managed for its timber and has now reached an age where it should be harvested. The National Trust will be taking on this work over the winter months.

Longwood is an ancient oak woodland with an industrial past on the edge of the river Dart between Kingswear and Galmpton. In the 1940’s a commercial plantation was added of larch and Douglas fir, called Noss plantation. Over the last 70 odd years this plantation has been managed for its timber and has now reached the age where it should be harvested. The National Trust will be taking on this work during the winter months of 2019 and 2020.

We will be using this opportunity, once the felling is completed, to establish deciduous broadleaf woodland on the site. Where possible we will be allowing natural regeneration to occur but may need to undertake some planting and bramble control to ensure woodland cover.

The oak in Longwood was historically managed as a means to produce charcoal and the bark was used in the leather tannin process. Since the industrial revolution the woodland has largely been left to its own devices, apart from occasional ride management and fires. As such it is a haven for wildlife and a beautiful area to walk on the banks of the river Dart. 

We are aware that this work will have an impact on the area both visually and in the short term to access to footpaths in the woods, however the long-term benefits to wildlife and the habitat as a whole will far outweigh this.

The Larch was specifically planted as a crop to harvest and is also very susceptible to a fungal disease called phytophthora which if it catches we will have to fell anyway. This has occurred in a number of other local woodlands and we are keen to avoid this situation if possible.

The Douglas is also going to be removed but we are keen to keep a small number of these trees due to their size and visibility on the site, as such we will be retaining a small number within the woodland.

The plantation already has a good number of deciduous broadleaf trees growing within it and we will be working closely with the forestry contractor to protect as many of these as possible from damage or removal during the works. However due to the size of some of the trees being removed 'collateral' damage to some of these will be unavoidable.

We appreciate that the removal of trees is an emotive subject and we have thought long and hard about undertaking this work. The site will remain as woodland and all re-gen and replanting will be managed to ensure broadleaf trees can establish as quickly as possible.

If you have any further questions, please contact the Countryside Ranger Team by emailing greenway@nationaltrust.org.uk