An agreement between the two organisations to ensure effective liaison, assist in reviewing policy and work together on measures to promote sustainable woodland management.
A ten year vision for Forestry Commission woodlands in the North Wessex Downs was published in 2009.
The North Wessex Downs and Hampshire County Council agreed to survey the coppice resource within the Hampshire element of the AONB. The purpose of the survey was to gain a better understanding of the current extent and condition to inform decisions on how the remaining resource could best be supported by public funds. Condition assessment for each coupe were linked to a GIS layer showing the location of each coppice coupe to facilitate future management support and monitoring.
The survey confirmed that the major factors contributing to poor coppice condition were deer and canopy cover together with a lack of demand for in cycle coppice within the area largely due to the lack of a local coppice work force.
This report, published in 2005 outlines the extent and character of existing woodland within the AONB. It aims to assess the condition of the existing woodland resource, the nature and type of any management and the contribution that woodlands make to the cultural, biological and landscape character. Finally, the report identifes, at a strategic level, the needs and priorities for woodland management in the North Wessex Downs.
A set of advice notes were developed in 2006, to offer realistic cost information to farmers and land managers wishing to undertake specific environmental stewardship options.
They provide step by step guidance on the processes and costs of establishing cover for wild birds, restoring and managing species rich grassland and arable reversion.
The figures given are "farmer costs" and will be higher if contractors are used. The range of costs is intended as guidance only as much will depend upon factors such as, soil type; size, number and distribution of plots; pest, disease and weed burden; type and age of machinery used. Please also note costs are subject to change.
For further information, please download the advice notes below;
Calcareous grassland is a Biodiversity Action Plan habitat and a key habitat for the North Wessex Downs landscape. Traditionally grazed by sheep, cattle and rabbits these areas support a wide range of species including orchids, blue butterflies and skylarks. Today small isolated blocks of chalk grassland are mainly found on steep slopes and around archaeological sites. A number of these sites are losing their biodiversity due to a lack of appropriate management i.e. grazing animals. This report aims to highlight the importance of grazing these important grassland sites by helping match land with stock.
Environmental Stewardship encourages the use of native and local seed for chalk grassland creation and restoration and a supplement for using native seed mixes is available. This research explored the viability of seed collection sites within the three target areas of Horton Downs, Hampshire Downs and the Letcombe to Liddington escarpment.
Traditionally, hedges provided a variety of wood products including firewood, but as labour became more expensive and wood was replaced by fossil fuels, the practice of managing hedges for firewood was lost. Following recent rises in oil and gas costs and concerns about climate change, there is a growing interest in reviving the economic value of hedgerows through managing them once again for woodfuel, mainly through coppicing.
This best practice guide, developed in partnership with the TWECOM project aims to demonstrate the benefits of managing hedges for woodfuel. It contains guidance regarding wildlife, techniques, machinery and legal aspects of management.
This project is supported by the North Wessex Downs Sustainable Development Fund.