Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) Handbook 2010 (NE226)
EC4    Management of woodland edges
380 points per ha

Woodland fringe habitat.

The development of scrub along the edges of woodland provides important habitats for a range of wildlife, including invertebrates, birds and small mammals. This option is designed to encourage the woodland edge to grow out into the field and requires 6 m to be left uncultivated from the edge of the wood. A scrub and grass mosaic should be allowed to develop. The option should only be placed adjacent to predominantly native woodlands, particularly ancient woodlands. It may be used to enhance woodlands on your land, as well as those that border the farm but do not form part of the farm.

This option must be located on agricultural land adjacent to woodland, to allow development of the woodland edge. Therefore, where woodland covers an entire land parcel, this option should be located in the adjoining field.

The option is also eligible adjacent to woodlands where a ditch runs between the woodland and the field. However, it may not be practical to use this option if the ditch requires ongoing management or maintenance. This option may be located immediately adjacent to woodland receiving Forestry Commission funding, but there must be no overlap.

Buffer strip options may be located adjacent to these woodland-edge areas.

For this option, you must comply with the following:

  • Do not cultivate within 6 m of the woodland edge. Allow the woodland edge to grow out for up to 6 m.
  • Cover of scrub growth must not exceed 50 per cent of the area.
  • Cutting is only permitted to maintain the scrub and grass mosaic and for the control of the weeds listed below.
  • Trim no more than a third of the shrubby growth in any one calendar year. Do not cut during the bird breeding season (1 March to 31 August).
  • Do not supplementary feed or locate water troughs and mineral licks in such a way as to cause poaching on the woodland edge.
  • Only apply herbicides to spot-treat or weed-wipe for the control of injurious weeds (ie creeping and spear thistles, curled and broad-leaved docks or common ragwort) or invasive non-native species (eg Himalayan balsam, rhododendron or Japanese knotweed).
  • Do not apply fertilisers or manures.
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