BITTERLEY HYDE FARM

THE SITE

The site falls within the NCA ‘Herefordshire Plateau’, a strongly rural, rolling landscape with steep, often wooded, valleys. This valley woodland is in keeping with the landscape as a predominantly broadleaf woodland and will contribute to the priority objectives for this area by strengthening woodland connectivity and improving resilience to climate change.

TREES

Future timber production is a major objective with 50% of the species having been selected for productivity, timber value and resilience to grey squirrels. These main timber species are Douglas fir, Norway spruce, western red cedar and wild cherry. In addition, alders (grey and common) have been used as a nurse for their fast early growth and soil improving qualities. It is envisaged that these will be removed relatively early in the rotation as a biomass crop. Other native species such as oak and hornbeam may yield high-value timber on a longer term basis. All species have been planted in robust groups to facilitate the development of mixed woodland in the long term and avoid faster-growing species dominating. It is intended that the woodland will be managed on a continuous cover basis and group planting of species that will mature at different ages will allow gradual conversion to uneven-aged woodland.

CARBON

Carbon sequestration is a major objective and the woodland has been designed with over 80% fast-growing productive species and high planting density to maximise sequestration. The average yield class is 13.85m3/ha/year and it is projected that 820t of carbon will be sequestered over 100 years. The woodland will be thinned to promote tree growth, but it is envisaged that it will never be clearfelled.

BIODIVERSITY

The new woodland is more than 50% broadleaf and links Dudales Wood (19ha of ancient woodland) with significant areas of riparian woodland along the Swainhill Dingle to the south. The woodland contains 0.99ha of native riparian woodland which has been designed with biodiversity as a primary objective.

WATER QUALITY AND QUANTITY

The woodland is within the River Wye Priority Catchment and both water quality and quantity are significant concerns. The woodland will improve water quality by reducing soil erosion and removing agricultural inputs. Water quantity will be regulated by intercepting precipitation, improving infiltration and slowing the flow of peaks or rainfall into the river system, reducing flashiness and flooding pressures downstream.

PEOPLE AND ACCESS

The woodland is located within a rural area and is surrounded by private farmland with no existing public roads or rights of way to it so permissive access is not considered appropriate.

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