Family Forestry

Many owners of woodlands are families who own their woods both to enjoy and manage themselves.   Many woodlands owned in this way are only a few acres in size but are managed with involvement from the whole family and the family sees their ownership as a long term thing - expecting to pass the woodland on to children and keep within the family.

Such woodlands allow lots of hands-on learning - members of the family learn by actually trying out coppicing or planting or building bridges.  Even if people make some mistakes, learning by doing creates an understanding of tasks that goes much deeper than simply reading and studying.

Family forestry often includes extended families.  This can take the form of family events, such as christenings and special birthday parties, held in a woodland or a relative taking on some forestry tasks - in any event it means more people can enjoy woodlands and can participate in their active management.  

Woodland management carried out by a close-knit team who are looking at woodlands for the long term and who are concerned about the many different aspects of forestry, is likely to be very good for the health of British woodlands.

Over the last 10-15 years there has been an enormous increase in the number of individual families owning woodlands.  Several thousand new owners have each taken on looking after a part of our "woodland heritage" and the movement is steadily growing.  The growth has been driven by:

- the forestry commission and other bodies have been selling off their land;

- many woodlands have been split up so that more people can own a small wood;

- ownership has moved from pure financially-driven investors towards enthusiasts.

There is of course still a very important role for public access woodlands owned by community bodies and Trusts.  However, what can be done in these woods will always be more limited than what people can do in a wood of their own.  In a public woodland you cannot usually camp, build fires, create paths, cut down trees or have private areas.  Family forestry allows for more possibilities and this website introduces the family forestry movement.

You can see a further discussion of family forestry at familyforestryblog

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