Woodlands & Timber products
Boughton Estate Woodland
Nearly 25%, or 2500 acres, of Boughton Estate is covered in woodland and has been under the same management for over 300 years. The woodland is composed of mostly of native broadleaf trees, including large areas of semi natural ancient woodland which is one of our most diverse natural habitats.
We harvest approximately 3500t of timber a year which can range from timber suitable for conversion into logs for stoves (often called cordwood) or woodchip boilers, to first quality ash and oak that may find itself into some of the furniture you might buy. Given the importance of the biodiversity in the woodland we are very careful about how we harvest our wood so as to meet the sustainability requirements of the UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
The team that currently manages the woodland comprises of the Woodland Operations Manager – Jonathan Plowe, and two full time foresters Phil Eager and John Litman
Most of the harvested trees we cut down are the ones which are not doing so well or are miss-shapen and will be no use for the sawmill. After around 100yrs the trees that are left are big enough to go to a sawmill to make beams, furniture or general construction timber. For every tree we cut down several will be planted, or naturally regenerated (from seeds dropped by the remaining trees), to make sure we keep our woodland in good condition.
Between 2010 and 2015, we have planted over 100 acres of new woodland. Harvesting usually takes place between late summer and the early winter. This is after the bird nesting season and before the ground gets too wet and we risk damaging the soil structure. Also the higher quality trees have to be felled at this time, as the sugary spring sap may discolour the wood.
The felling is undertaken either by a ‘timber harvester’ if the trees are not too big , or by forestry contractors with chainsaws for the bigger trees. The timber is then extracted with a forestry forwarding trailer out of the wood to a roadside for collection by lorries equipped with cranes.
We also grow along the banks of the Ise river special varieties of willow trees for Cricket Bats, some of which have been used by the England Cricket team.
Our woodlands are a haven for a wide variety of wildlife, with thriving populations of Red Kites, Buzzards, Badgers, Woodpeckers, Hares and three types of Deer (Fallow, Roe & Muntjac) to name a few of the more obvious species. Often missed by the visitor is the amazing variety of invertebrates and fungi that thrive in the semi natural ancient woodland – keep your eyes open especially in the autumn. Young plantations of trees are very good habitat for creatures that like more light, such a many woodland birds. As the trees mature so does the habitat which will attract a different range of creatures, such as bats that will take advantage of holes in trees to roost – possibly made by woodpeckers. We often leave trees that have lots of holes and decay just for the wildlife – bees love rotten ash trees to make a nest in.