Funding assists woodland management on the Holnicote Estate

Horner Water in Horner Wood

Woodlands are a key feature of the landscape on the Holnicote Estate. They occupy approximately 2,500 acres of the estate, including ancient oak pollards in Horner Wood and conifer plantations in Luccombe Wood. As well as stands of Scot’s pines at Webber’s Post and hazel coppice at Blackford Wood.

The ancient and semi-ancient woodland across the estate provide the perfect habitat for lichens, mosses and ferns. The woodlands act as ‘green corridors’, meaning small mammals such as hedgehogs, dormice and bats have room to thrive.

A number of these woodlands were planted by the Acland family, who donated Holnicote Estate to the National Trust in 1944. They planted the woodlands to improve the appearance of the landscape but also to create working woodlands which could provide timber for the estate.

National Trust rangers are working to improve the woodlands on the estate to create healthier habitats in which woodland wildlife can thrive.  This conservation work provides more light to reach the woodland floor, encouraging the growth of wildflowers which support pollinating insects. By allowing scrub to form, there will be more nesting areas for birds and small mammals. By opening the forest canopy and thinning selected trees, it will allow old veteran and ancient trees to have space and conditions they need.

The rangers will be using traditional woodland management techniques such as coppicing, which is the cyclical cutting if species such as hazel, sweet chestnut and oak. This process produces woodland products such as fenceposts which will then be used on the estate.

These woods are integral to the spirit of Holnicote and we hope that by sensitively managing them we will make them a better place for wildlife and our visitors. The work completed has been facilitated through machinery that has been purchased using money from LEADER.

The LEADER scheme is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE)
and is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).
Money from the programme is given to Local Action Groups (LAGs) so that they can
award grants locally to businesses and organisations that apply for it. The Rural Payments
Agency (RPA) manages the LEADER scheme nationally on behalf of Defra and will make
the payments to successful applicants.