We are lucky enough to be custodians of an ancient woodland brimming with ancient semi-natural trees.
Income is achieved through responsible felling for the construction industry and the creation of wood pellets.
Following a 40-year lull in planting after WWII following a change in grants, we are working very hard to increase the level of planting across the Estate to help improve the overall national levels of new planting.
The purpose of our woodland management plan is to ensure every decision made, ties in with a long-term purposeful strategy. At the forefront of our plans is the replenishment, renewal and rejuvenation of the woodland.
Estate woodland extends to approximately X acres and is an important timber resource, environmental and amenity feature. In 2019 we planted a total of 21,500 new saplings in our woodland and another 10,000 in 2020. 2021 saw numbers planted exceeding 20,000 plants.
Half of our forest is planted with softwood, which is then felled and replanted strategically, following the UK Forestry Standard. The remaining woodland is made up of hardwoods such as maple, oak, beech and hornbeam.
We have consciously planted a variety of species to ensure the risk of disease is minimised. The ultimate aim is to have forests that are self-regenerating and are then subject to selective thinning and felling rather than clear felling and replanting.
We try to make use of every bit of our timber, even from smaller branches and brushwood. Ash tree dieback (Hymenoscyphus Fraxineus) has destroyed trees across the Estate; however, we have come up with a novel idea for making the most of those trees, ensuring nothing goes to waste.
As the demand soars for renewable energy solutions, biomass heating systems are rapidly growing in popularity. The majority of wood pellets required for biomass boilers are imported, with a reported 89,000 tons brought into the UK in just one month during 2020.
Our wood pellet processing plant is able to produce 2,500 tons of pellets a year, which are used in biomass heating systems across the UK. 360 tons of the wood pellets we produce are used on and around the Estate each year – in our manor house and the Jack Russell Inn and Lodge.
This is displacing 65,000 litres a year of heating oil. The 35 rented houses we own in Faccombe Village will be gradually being converted to biomass heating systems, which will progressively be phased onto using pellets too.