Managing the woods

Tree felling is essential to keep the woods healthy

With the help from generous local supporters, Standish Woods were purchased by the National Trust in 1931. Over the decades, we've been working hard to manage the woods to ensure that it continues to thrive long into the future.

There are many reasons why we need to manage the woods. These include maintaining a variety of different habitats, stopping or preventing the spread of fungal diseases and helping to restore the native character of the woodland.

Woodland management plan

Earlier this year, we wrote a ten year Woodland Management Plan, which has been approved authorised by the Forestry Commission. The plan includes an operations plan of the work required to maintain or improve the health of the trees. 

Tree thinning

The trees in Standish Woods are growing too closely together, which isn't good for their development. Over the next few months, we'll be cutting some down leaving the ones that remain to mature properly.

In a wood where the trees are too densely planted, little light reaches the ground and the wood looks dark and uninviting. Competition for light and resources makes the trees tall and spindly.

By removing a selection of the less healthy trees we'll be giving those that remain space to grow. It will allow light back onto the woodland floor, creating opportunities for plants like bluebells to grow.

Tree felling is vital to the health of the woods

Tree felling

In woodlands open space and fresh growth are vital. Felling creates open spaces and makes room for young trees to grow. Newly cleared areas are good for young trees. A well-balanced wood has trees of all ages. Cutting down some trees and allowing saplings to grow helps to create a more natural age structure.

Preventing disease

Since 2009, a fungal disease called Phytophthora ramorum has been spreading across the country. In the west of England, large swathes of infected larch trees have had to be removed.

With the advice from the Forestry Commission we've taken the decision to remove the larch in Standish Woods to prevent the disease from spreading. Larch is particularly susceptible but the disease can also be deadly to oak, sweet chestnut and beech.

The thinning works will also produce airer, lighter space around the canopy reducing the fungal spore activity around the trees. The risk of infection is therefore reduced.

" It can come as a surprise to many people but recent research shows that regularly thinning and felling trees is better for wildlife. It increases the capability of woods to support a wider range of habitats than one that is left to its own devices."
- Tim Jenkins, Area Ranger

Replanting

In areas where we've removed the larch, we'll be replanting with native species like beech, whitebeam, cherry and oak in the winter.