It was great to play host to yet another sold out event and the engagement and enthusiasm was evident for all to see. A great deal of positive heat was generated, despite the low temperatures.
An immense amount of learning was on offer on the day around the twin themes of collaboration and management. In addition to the planned sessions on grants and tree diseases and practical demonstration of management equipment and techniques, attendees also raised practical questions about felling licences and woodland management plans, as well as our Welsh participants needing more information about what is the same and what is different on either side of the Dyke.
We concluded that there is now even more evidence of the need to manage woodlands and the benefits that follow, given the results of George Peterken’s work and equally that there is practical advice and guidance on hand for woodland owners and managers. There is plenty to worry about in terms of tree diseases, however, a sensible informed approach would lead owners and managers to address only the most pressing risks directly, whilst accepting that our woods are changing and that other species will replace those we lose. The choice for owners is when to act, however, even if you don’t act, prepare for change.
We devoted a lot of time to the grants on offer. Now is clearly the time to get plans into order for the various grants that are on offer, both through Countryside Productivity Grants in England and Glastir in Wales, with Leader grants also being available on both sides of the border. It is too early to tell what might be available after Brexit, but what we can be sure of is that the grants on offer now are at least as good as they have been for some time and that the longer term is less certain.
Finally, we would like to thank Forestry Commission for their support and without whom the event would not have been possible.
We would also like to thank Paula Griffiths RPA, Simon James, Barnaby Wilder, Danielle Lea-Smith and Nick Smith from Forestry Commission, Pete Banford Shropshire LEADER, Neill Mapes, Richard Thomason, Kieran Leigh-Moy, Stuart Zlotowski, Richard Bowness from Truncator, Dave Philips Deer cuisine and Steve Hall from Stihl.