Boyles Court Estate, Great Warley

Site Information

Size:

15.12 hectares

Status:

Local Wildlife Site

Public Access:

Yes

Car Park:

Yes

Management Plan:


Boyles Court Estate Woodlands

Planned Woodland Operations for 2018-19

Jackson’s Wood

Jackson’s Wood is designated Ancient Semi Natural Woodland (ASNW), which was developed as hornbeam coppice with oak standards.  Coppicing is a historic technique to produce firewood and timber, which involves cutting “stools” or the previous growth, to ground level, so that they can re-shoot quickly.  Areas within a woodland block are coppiced on a fairly short cycle, so that there should be an ongoing patchwork of different ages and heights of coppice and seedling regeneration, providing constant habitat for biodiversity.  Natural British flora and fauna have co-evolved with this system over thousands of years.

Compartment 5a will be re-coppiced as part of a new programme to improve woodland and its biodiversity across Essex County Council woodland estates.  The larger oak standard trees are part of the system, grown for timber on their own, much longer cycle.  A proportion of standards are usually retained in a coppice compartment providing a variation in heights, ages and habitats.  Seed trees are also retained for seeding into the newly open area, where plenty of light allows for germination.  Female ash are left as seed trees where they are visibly unaffected by the new ash dieback disease, as well as other species which are less common in the compartment, to maintain diversity.  This makes a healthy environment for regeneration and resilience to climate change. There will be supplementary planting after the coppicing, to establish a new generation of standard oak, as well as to provide increased species diversity.

The tops of the trees are termed “brash”, which can appear quite considerable after woodland work.  This disappears in a few years, after doing a job of protecting regenerating stools and seedlings or where it has been laid down as a mat to protect the woodland floor against compaction by machinery.

Prior to starting work, the area is surveyed for potential bat roots and other protected species’ habitat. This includes birds in the nesting season.  If any are found, that section of the work is protected by a buffer zone and resumed at a later date.

Deer populations around the Boyles Court Estate are moderate to high.  This means they adversely impact the most vulnerable phase of woodland regeneration through browsing shoots and seedlings.  Coppice regeneration in this area will be protected with temporary deer fencing.  The fence will be up for about 4 years, until the understorey is strong and thick enough to be self-protecting.

Jermain’s Wood

Compartment 8a of Jermain’s Wood on the Western side of the M25 is also to be coppiced.  It is predominantly ash in composition which means there will be a high impact from the fungal disease ash dieback.  Although the disease is very bad news, there is high genetic diversity amongst ash and a small proportion of individuals are tolerant of it.   The coppicing will be very modest, increasing ventilation and light but retaining a high complement of females which will seed onto woodland floor. Some males may be reduced to a single stem, making more light while retaining maximum genetic diversity among the offspring.  By giving the opportunity for massive seeding as in this compartment, it is hoped to find that a small proportion of tolerant individuals will emerge. There will also be supplementary planting to diversity the species in the compartment and to establish a new generation of oak.

The tops of the trees are termed “brash”, which can appear quite considerable after woodland work.  This disappears in a few years, after doing a job of protecting regenerating stools and seedlings or where it has been laid down as a mat to protect the woodland floor against compaction by machinery.

Prior to starting work, the area is surveyed for potential bat roots and other protected species’ habitat. This includes birds in the nesting season.  If any are found, that section of the work is protected by a buffer zone and resumed at a later date.

Deer populations around the Boyles Court Estate are moderate to high.  This means they adversely impact the most vulnerable phase of woodland regeneration through browsing shoots and seedlings.  Coppice regeneration in this area will be protected with temporary deer fencing.  The fence will be up for about 4 years, until the understorey is strong and thick enough to be self-protecting.


Where is Boyles Court Estate?

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