Farm & Small Woodlands

  • A wood that pays is a wood that stays is a very true adage.
  • Most farms have some existing woodland or areas of ground suitable for planting with trees.
  • Many existing woodlands – especially small ones – are neglected because there is no economic incentive. That does not benefit the environment and economic outlets need to be developed for wood products as does the economic potential of the tourist and environmental value of them.
  • Owners and managers of smaller woodlands in particular may find it difficult to secure economic outlets for their timber products. National and local initiatives are striving to rekindle or create new markets for these low volume and low value timber products to stimulate woodland management again.
  • Small woods, copses and spinneys have received inadequate management over the years and are an underused, or unrecognised asset.
  • A recent survey showed that there are currently about 170,000 hectares of unmanaged woodland in the UK, much of which is not realising its full potential for timber production, nor for recreation, nor conservation.
  • Long-established, but neglected woods can often be enhanced for multiple purposes by judicious thinning, group felling and replanting or fencing.
  • Most farms already have some woodland – typically these are small in area and are composed of broadleaved species. Correctly managing them can confer benefits on both the present and future farming generations.
  • Leisure and pleasure – as well as offering sound capital investment and commercial timber prospects, woodlands provide ample opportunities for the farmer to exploit his tree resource and generate an income through recreation and amenity.
  • Besides the traditional sporting potential of pheasant shoots, enterprising farmers have turned their woodlands from a liability into an asset by, for example, erecting and letting log cabins, hiring them out for paint-ball or war games, leasing trails for pony trekking, putting in equestrian cross-country courses, etc.
  • The importance of recreation and income generated from it for the agricultural community is, and will become increasingly evident in future years.

More: DIY If you fancy propagating woodland trees and shrubs yourself on a small scale, or planting a small native woodland, or managing an existing one, the BTCV “Tree Planting & Aftercare – a Practical Handbook”, the Small Woods Association’s “Information Pack” or Tree Council websites, or “Caring for Small Woods” by Ken Broad, all provide sound advice. And visit


or click here for more on woodland initiatives.