Friday, 16 September 2011

Forest matters (16/9/11)

I enjoyed meeting lots of people passionate about their forests, in Kent yesterday evening, as part of the Independent Forestry Panel visits. The meeting was organised by the Forestry Commission South East and the Weald AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), at the very magnificent Woodland Enterprise Centre (a building made almost entirely of local wood), just outside Tunbridge Wells.

Kent's forestry is different from other areas we've visited. About 10% is wooded, and of this 40,000 hectares about 70% is Ancient Woodland. In 1947, coppice systems accounted for two thirds of all woodland and although this is now down to around 20% it is still by far the highest of any county. (I met some very passionate coppicers last night. It is often a family business, and there are apparently some families with at least eight generations of coppicers.). Kent's woodlands are also smaller. There are about 2000 individual woodlands over 2 hectares (5 acres) and 75% of them are under 10 hectares in size.

What came across again was the passion and emotion that people feel for their forests. At the beginning of October, the Ramblers is organising a Walk in the Woods Week with 100+ forest walks (should be lovely Autumn colours by then). It's also organising three forest rallies in different parts of the country:

o    2nd Oct – Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood themed

o    8th Oct – Friston Forest, Sussex

o    9th Oct – Rendlesham Forest Suffolk.

Further info on Walk in the Woods Week can be found:

Tom Franklin
Sent from my iPhone


The Ramblers' Association is a registered charity (England & Wales no 1093577, Scotland no SC039799) and a company limited by guarantee, registered in England & Wales (no 4458492). Registered office: 2nd floor, Camelford House, 87-90 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TW.

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