Felling at Longwood Noss plantation

Downs copse woods at Greenway, Devon

We will be undertaking some felling works this autumn to remove larch and Douglas fir from the woodland at Longwood. Due to this work there is likely to be disruption to access routes and a considerable change to the landscape in this area.


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 2020.

The work was started last winter however a mixture of terrible weather and the onset of the Covid 19 pandemic and ensuing lockdown meant that the work was left only half completed. The aim this autumn is to complete the work, firstly by clearing the last of the fallen timber from the felled area and then completing the felling of the larch in the lower part of the plantation.

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.


A productive habitat

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.


Larch and Douglas fir

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 fir 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.


Protecting the decidous trees

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, but we will do out best to minimise this. The site will remain as woodland and all replanting will be managed to ensure broadleaf trees can establish as quickly as possible.

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

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