Lydford Forest Plan Questionnaire

Closed 13 Oct 2023

Opened 30 Aug 2023

Feedback updated 26 Oct 2023

We asked

The external consultation for the Lydford Forest Plan was open for six weeks in September/October 2023. Posters were put up at the entrances to the woods, directing people to an online survey. In addition, emails were sent specifically to organisations and individuals who we felt have an interest in how the forest is managed e.g. parish councils, local interest groups.

You said

The majority of the 15 respondents to the survey describe themselves as forest users and neighbours, but there were also comments from Devon County Council and Butterfly Conservation.

We did

Respondents scored functions of the forest plan in terms of importance to them / their organisation. Biodiversity, climate change, recreational access and forest protection were deemed to be the most significant, with all respondents scoring them as either ‘important’ or ‘very important’. 14 of the 15 respondents said that the forest plan addresses their needs and interests (or those of their organisation) ‘very well’, ‘well’ or ‘ok’, with plenty of positive feedback including:

“pretty balanced and gives a long term plan for the area”

Forestry England’s response: Thank you! A great deal of time has been spent balancing objectives for wildlife, people, climate and the economy to ensure Lydford forest is managed sustainably now and in the future.

“No disagreements with any aspect of the plan. Great to see that you have incorporated grazing into the plan, including assessments of the potential to implement grazing.”

Forestry England’s response: Grazing is something we will be considering in coming years as a tool to assist us in meeting our objectives, particularly those for open space management and heritage conservation. We look forward to working with partners on this in the future.

“I have noticed that since there are less pine copses and more leaf trees along the track, the forest has come alive l with bird song, which is most enjoyable and ensures that the world is still a good place to be. -  Long may it continue.”

Forestry England’s response: All types of woodland have wildlife value, but we are pleased with the direction of change at Lydford, and pleased to hear how important our sites are for visitors.

“It is particularly good to see the careful attention given to the many features of archaeological significance”

Forestry England’s response: Lydford Forest is an important site for archaeology, and we continue to work with Historic England to manage the heritage features within the woods to safeguard them for future generations.



Some people also expressed concerns that the plan was not thorough enough on certain topics. These include:

“It is disappointing to see the commentary about failing to achieve the objective of conserving heathland fragments at Burley Wood during the last Forest Plan period.  Whilst this might be the pragmatic approach, it would be a great shame for there to be no attempt to maintain some ongoing representation of this 'heathy' character within parts of the woodland setting at Burley Down, even if confined to appropriate ongoing management of some of the rides and small glades.”


Forestry England’s response: During forest operational planning, areas of heathland are recognised and avoided so that they may continue to establish at Burley Down. Management techniques to restore heathland remnants will also be considered as part of this planning process. Compensatory open space will be created along the southern end of Lydford forest, where it will play a greater role in recovering butterfly species and linking up to surrounding open space.


“The ancient hill fort that has been damaged by a forest road needs more respect.”

Forestry England’s response: We acknowledge that past management of the hillfort has not been as careful as it is today. During the forest planning process and when writing our scheduled monument plans, we work closely with Historic England to ensure that our operations are not detrimental to heritage features, and that they are kept in favourable condition. Features (both scheduled and unscheduled) are identified during operational site planning and avoided during harvesting works.


“We believe that Forestry England is funded by taxpayers and so the aftermath of managing woodlands should include restoration or protection of pathways for continued use by the public.”

We work hard to support public access by reinstating forest roads and public rights of way as quickly as possible after forestry operations. Sometimes, this might be delayed by poor weather, but will be done as soon as conditions allow. Forestry England receives very little government funding and generates more than 80% of its own income.

“After felling and removal of viable timber the remaining branches and off cuts as well as deeply gouged mud filled tacks prevent any access to woodlands. Sometimes the debris is roughly piled into huge mounds and left to rot down/provide a habitat for fauna(?) but this simply creates space for blackberry to make the area totally impenetrable to the public.”

Forestry England’s response: We acknowledge that the forest looks very different after harvesting than it did before, and it will continue to change as felled areas regenerate. Deadwood and decaying vegetation are critical parts of a woodland ecosystem that are often missing due to previous management prescriptions, and are beneficial for returning nutrients to the soil and providing niches for specialist animals and fungi. Brambles are also an important food source for many species including butterflies and birds.

Other comments relating to the placement of dog waste bins and benches, signage, bicycle access and car park maintenance have been passed on to the local forest management teams. These concerns were considered outside of the scope of the Forest Plan, which is intended to set out land management objectives to ensure forest resilience and sustainability into the future.


The Forest Plan for Forestry England's Lydford Forest is due for renewal. This plan covers Lydford forest, the Brentor woods (Asheltor, Cole's and Langstone Woods) and Burley Down Woods.

Forest Plans define our long-term vision for a woodland or a collection of woodlands, and set out how our management will move towards achieving this vision over the next ten years. We would like to invite you or your organisation to leave some feedback on our proposed revision to the Forest Plan, which is available to download below in PDF format. 




Why your views matter

As part of the forest planning process, we carry out consultation with internal and external stakeholders, to ensure that the objectives of the plan are balanced appropriately, and to meet the requirements of the UK Woodland Assurance Standard, through which our woodlands are accredited.

This online consultation will be available until Friday 13th October 2023.

We will summarise the feedback and our responses by the end of November in the 'We asked, You said, We did' area. Your comments will be anonymous - you can choose to leave your name, but we won't include it in our summary.


What happens next

Once this online stakeholder engagement has closed, we will examine the feedback and where appropriate, will incorporate suggestions into the Forest Plan. We will summarise the feedback on the 'We asked, You said, We did' page.

We will then submit the Forest Plan to the regulatory arm of the Forestry Commission for approval.


  • Landowner / manager
  • Local community member
  • Forest visitor
  • Forestry Commission agent / contractor / partner
  • Government department / agency or unitary authority
  • Non-Governmental Organisation / charity


  • Forest design plans