The majority of the woodland on Beech Estate is either ancient semi natural or plantations on ancient woodland sites (PAWS). The PAWS woods were established in the 1950s and 1960s, generally very successfully. The 1987 storm caused considerable damage to the plantations, destroying or severely damaging about 35% of them. The majority of these areas were cleared and restocked with conifers and mixed native broadleaves. Many of these plantations have become successfully established though there are many areas where natural regeneration has dominated any planting.
The overriding objective of management over the last fifteen years has been to increase the diversity of species and structure within the woodland. We are now working on complete natural regeneration rather than planting in the woods. This requires tight control of both deer and squirrels in order that the naturally seeded trees can grow. The continuous cover forestry approach is proving very interesting in terms of the trees that are establishing and the bio diversity this brings.
The extensive network or rides are well maintained and cut in zones to ensure that there are diverse habitats to benefit the widest range of species.