Managing and maintaining woodlands: overview

Find information on woodland management in England, including funding to maintain your woodland, useful guidance, and the regulations you’llyou need to follow.

Applies to England

Create a woodland management plan

The first step to managing your woodland sustainably is to establish what your objectives are. Do you want to focus on timber production, nature conservation or climate change adaptation? Perhaps you want to manage your woodland for all of these things and more.

A woodland management plan gives land managers a structured way to plan and organise the sustainable management of woodland to a common industry standard.

You could be eligible for a grant to help you develop your plan.

Funding for woodland maintenance

There are a number of grants and incentives to support the maintenance of established woodlands and the creation of management plans.

Woodland Management Plan grant: Countryside Stewardship

The Woodland Management Plan grant is part of Countryside Stewardship. It is a capital grant for farmers and land managers to produce a woodland management plan that meets UK Forestry Standards. Find out more and apply for a Woodland Management Plan grant.

Woods into Management Forestry Innovation Funds

These funds aim to restore vulnerable woodland habitats and help woodlands adapt to a changing climate and recover from the impacts of pests and diseases. Find out more about available funding through the Woods into Management funds.

Higher Tier: Countryside Stewardship

Countryside Stewardship gives incentives for land managers to look after their environment. Grants are available in the Higher Tier to support ongoing management of woodlands and wooded areas. Find out more about Countryside Stewardship Higher Tier.

Regulations for woodland management

If you own a woodland, you’ll have to follow the rules on:

Useful guides for woodland management

Managing ancient and native woodland in England

Read guidanceabout onmanaging Managing ancient and native woodland in England. includingThis informationprovides ongood woodlandpractice assessmentguidance andon monitoring,woodland management and planning, woodlandincluding structure, tree species, restocking, species managementconservation, andfor conservationowners andof recreational,ancient educational and sportingnative uses.woodland.

Managing semi-natural woodland

Read guidance on Managing semi-natural woodland in England (PDF, 934 KB, 36 pages) includingincludes information on the need for management, harvesting, weeding, tending and thinning, tree regeneration, grazing and pest control.

Managing woodlands in a climate emergency

Read guidance on Managing England’s woodlands in a climate emergency whichwill supportshelp foresters,you farmers,plan, landownersplant and agentsmanage adaptyour their woodlands toappropriately thefor impactsboth ofcurrent, ourand changingfuture climate.climates. The guidanceguide willsupports helpforesters, youfarmers plan and plantlandowners andto manageadapt yourtheir woodlands appropriatelyto for both the current,impacts andof futureour climates.changing climate.

Habitats and species protection

Diverse forests and woodlands contribute to the sustainability of the wider landscape. The conservation of biodiversity is therefore an essential part of sustainable forest management.

ReadLearn guidance on how to benefit speciespriority habitats and habitatsspecies biodiversity in your woodlandwoodland, toand find out about priority habitats and species, the value of ancient and native woodlandwoodland, and when it’s appropriate to remove trees to restore open habitats.

You must also plan how to manage threats to your woodland such as those from as:

Managing people in woodlands

Woodlands provide space for recreation and improve people’s health and wellbeing. Access to woodlands can also give people a chance to learn about forests and woodland management, and recreation can provide opportunities for business diversification.

If you have legal rights of public access to your woodland, you must manage these appropriately. By maintaining paths, tracks, and signage, you can also help people to access your woodland in a way that supports other management objectives, such as habitatshabitat and species protectionprotection, and timber harvesting.

The Woodland Condition Assessment (WCA) app

You can download the Woodland Condition Assessment (WCA) app to get results on the ecological condition of your woodland. This will help you assess your woodland’s condition in a standardised way, and it incorporates new rules on Biodiversity Net Gain, and other legislation.

Learn more about the WCA app and WCA training courses.

Published 2 December 2021
Last updated 3110 OctoberJuly 20232024 + show all updates
  1. Added a section on the Woodland Condition Assessment (WCA) app.

  2. Updated to include information on managing people in woodlands

  3. First published.