Small Woodland Management Plan 2021 to 2031
Why have a plan?
Saving Geers Wood from developers in December 2000 was a seminal event, yet it was only a brief moment in time. Our wood is very old. The land boundary ditch to west could date back to mediaeval times. Some of the coppice chestnut are between 300 and 400 years old.The Forestry Commission describes Geers Wood as semi-ancient woodland. All woodland in the United Kingdom is semi-ancient. The term ancient woodland only applying to those woodlands untouched by humans. For centuries Geers Wood would been a regularly managed woodland.Providing charcoal for the early iron industry, timber for domestic heating and construction. For centuries it would have been a perpetual hive of activity and central to the local economy.Our woodland was last planted approximately 150 years ago with hardwood (oak and beech) and
softwood (chestnut). Times change with no management our woods grew unhealthy. The high canopy (oak and beech) is all the one age blocking out the light that would encourage new growth.The chestnut harvest cycle of 15 years has long since passed. Left unchecked our top canopy would all eventually die without heirs. Invasive species from rhododendron, western hemlock cherry laurel to escapee garden plants would run amok. All this would have had previous generations of woodsmen reaching for axes and saws. As the current guardian’s we are tasked with protecting these beautiful woodlands for future
generations. The day-to-day management and upkeep of Geers Wood is our responsibility and now with help from the Forestry Commission, East Sussex LUND group and The Woodland Trust we have an official Small Woodland Management Plan 2021 to 2031 to achieve this. The plan has 3 objectives
1. Healthy Woodland
Thinning the top canopy and encouraging next-generation growth
Eradicating invasive species
Coppice through small-scale rotation
Add to existing tree bank encourage habitat for woodland flora fauna and wildlife
3. Assessment and Evaluation
Annual assessments covering Habitat Impact, Health and Safety of boundary and footpaths
Impact of Squirrel, Deer and Invasive Species
Woodland Plan brings new help
250 New sapling Trees
The Forestry Commission donated 250 new sapling trees in November 2020 they’ve been planted by young and old members of our community in the “top woods” (grides 5,6, 9 & 10 of wood map)
The Woodland Trust
We been able to secure an Ancient Woodlands Restoration Works Agreement from The Woodland Trust which will provide the funds and the professional contractors to clear invasive species on an ongoing basis and additional help with canopy thinning and coppice cycle.
Annual work parties remain imperative
In January 2001 we had our first work party which mobilised the community to tackle the vast dense jungle of rhododendron which then choked the woods. Whilst it’s great to have the help of the Woodland trust the day-to-day management and annual work parties will continue to play a pivotal role in creating a healthy biodiverse but most of all beautiful woodland.
Friends of Geers Wood