Responsibly and sustainably
Managing our Woods
Our Estate, which is based around the town of Midhurst in West Sussex, extends to about 16,500 acres, of which 36% is woodland, three times the national average.
Conifers form 53%, broadleaf high forest 25%, Chestnut coppice 14% with the other 8% being made up of shrub and bare areas.
The woodlands at Cowdray are certified under international sustainable management standards in accordance with the UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS). This means that our timber and wood products carry the FSC® mark of responsible forestry.
The woods at Cowdray are managed under a long term plan which ensures that a sustainable yield of timber is harvested. It also outlines how the forest will look in the future, what management techniques we will use and what species will be planted for the next generation.
Our primary objective is to produce quality timber from woods that are well managed and provide benefits to wildlife. The Estate produces approximately 10,000 cubic metres of timber per year from conifer thinnings and clearfells, which is sold into a range of markets. Sweet Chestnut Coppice is also harvested on the Estate with around 50 acres cut each year on rotation ranging from three to 30 years.
Planting & natural regeneration
The Estate undertakes a comprehensive programme of Forest Regeneration, using planting and natural regeneration to establish the next generation of trees.
The current focus is on diversifying woodlands to make them more resilient to future climate change and adaptable to suit future markets. In March 2016, we planted over 65,000 saplings on the Estate, mainly a mix of conifers.
Variety of products
Our Sawmill utilises wood harvested on the Estate to produce a range of products such a gate posts, sleepers, cladding boards and fencing products. We specialise in sawing Douglas Fir and Larch, two species noted for their durability.
We have recently invested in a charcoal kiln to utilise the hardwood off cuts from the sawmill. It has excellent heat production and retention, and is very easy to light. Charcoal can be purchased from the Cowdray Farm Shop.
The Estate is an approved woodchip supplier and is registered on the Biomass supplier list.
We can supply boiler quality or garden quality woodchip within the local area.
Contact us for more information about prices.
Variety of rare species
The Woods at Cowdray are home to a huge range of species and habitats, some of which are nationally rare. We work with a range of partners to protect and enhance key habitats, many of which are integral to our ongoing best management practices. The old Deer Park at Benbow Pond has a number of veteran trees including the Queen Elizabeth Oak which is between 850 and 1,000 years old.
Richard joined Cowdray in 2015. He gained a Forestry degree from the National School of Forestry at Newton Rigg in Cumbria and later joined the Forestry Commission, latterly working in the New Forest. He is now enjoying living on the Estate with his young family.