A new plan for Dartmoor's forests

April Fools Day was the last of the 28 day consultation period for Dartmoor's new Forest Plan.  'The what?', you may ask.  The Forestry Commission are defining their long term vision for Dartmoor's forests including Bellever, Fernworthy, Soussons and Brimpts.  These four plantations account for about 1.5% of the total National Park area.  Their plan sets out how the woods will be managed for the next decade or so.

Felling, thinning, restocking, species composition, protection of artifacts, public access and recreation, are all covered by the forest plan.  So what have the Forestry Commission (FC) got in store?

Their proposals seek to maintain the Public Forest Estate in line with current forestry policy... blah blah blah... Yawn.

The two key changes that I noted from the Plan are:
1. Up to 10% of the FC's wooded area to become permanent open space through forest clearance. These cleared patches include the high profile Fernworthy forest skyline distantly visible from Postbridge, the plantation on Bellever Tor's Eastern slope, plus Soussons' Southern, roadside edge. Where these trees exist now, moor will eventually take over.  More space for Letterboxing, and less visual impact on the landscape.  Unless you like the dark green walls wrapping over the horizon.

2. Implementation of proposals will "soften and better integrate the woodland with the surrounding landscape".  Proposals such as making a feathered edge to the forests, minimising the contrast between high forest and open moor.  This graded edge will be made up of clusters of trees, regenerating forest and open space.  This will surely affect many Letterbox bearings on forest edges.

It is a long term plan, but we look forward to seeing how this impacts the forests, the Moor and Letterboxing.  As I stated above, consultation closes on April 1st, but more information is available at: https://englandconsult.forestry.gov.uk/forest-districts/dartmoor-forest-plan/consultation/subpage.2014-10-24.2652189016/view

This is not an April Fools.


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