Working Woods and Forests
Exmoor’s woodlands were historically dominated by oak on the steeper land within the farm and estate structure. They provided a range of products and benefits including firewood, timber, shelter for stock, charcoal and tanbark.
During the 20th century more extensive areas, particularly on heathland but also felled ancient woodland were planted with conifers for timber production. There are now about 3,000 hectares of forestry plantations in the National Park but little of the timber grown is utilised locally. The South West has relatively little processing capacity and the markets for locally grown timber and forest products are prone to considerable fluctuation due to competition from imports.
There are exceptions to this general picture with high quality oak board being manufactured from locally grown timber and a number of timber frame, craft and furniture-making businesses that use locally grown wood products. Sustainable management of Exmoor woodlands can also supply wood fuel for heating to help off-set fossil fuel use.
The National Park Authority and its partners have been actively encouraging the sustainable management of Exmoor’s woodland resources, promoting the development and marketing of woodland products and encouraging planting schemes particularly through the Exmoor Ancient Woodland Project. Emphasising the sustainability and quality of local wood and products through the Exmoor Woodcert project is helping secure markets.
Exmoor Woodcert (Exmoor National Park Authority) Group Forest Management Certification Scheme is fully committed to the FSC Principles and Criteria of Responsible Forest Management.