Buying/Owning a wood

"Long message, over"!

I looked for the right woodland to buy for about twelve years before I found somewhere suitable.

There are quite a few things that factored into ownership. The first hurdle was the legal side, I thought I was quite a patient person, but when you involve solicitors there is all of a sudden no end of twoing and froing.

An agreed sale that should have taken less than six weeks took several months.

The land registry provided a provisional map that showed their interpretation of the boundary of the ground, all the neighbouring land owners had registered their land first (the system went online some years ago). I am certain I lost small amounts of ground on every boundary. It can take years to get the final deed of land registry provided as the system is painfully slow.

Firewood, like you I'm using my ground as a supply of firewood. The limit of wood you can harvest without applying for a felling licence is 5m3. That isn't an awful lot, if you've got a large stove, a draughty house or a boiler stove/range then you could burn that easily. I seem to recall you can only sell a proportion of this firewood.

Planting, there is currently a funding cycle for woodland creation until 2020. The government have targets to meet to satisfy their environmental obligations, so although I expect these will continue after this date the grant schemes might not be quite as generous - that said the grant doesn't cover the whole cost of trees, tree guards & planting. Also provision should be made for spraying weed killer, the ticket for this costs thousands, so contractors are the order of the day.

Covenants - these can be horrific. Mine has one where the forestry company who used to own the ground decades ago can use it for an access to extract their timber. Make sure someone who knows about these things advises you.

I only had a cursory check, but I believe some of the woodlands.co.uk covenants don't include shooting rights. This is ridiculously restrictive as for example, there's a legal obligation for landowners to control rabbits. I think the reason for this might be that that firm buys parcels of land and then divides it up for sale, neighbours shooting could make for some unhappy customers if they're all sitting on 2 acres each.

I was a member of the swog forum, I thought it was very useful, but there was a strong connection with woodlands.co.uk. They've closed the forum now, so the information is only there for reference.

Arbtalk is good, the people on there are obviously very practical.

If you do get ground, buy a trailcam, I bought one from Ebay USA cheaper than I could get one in this country.

To echo what others have said, it wont make you money, especially at an initial outlay of the prices you mentioned, but it is definitely a good thing to do from a conservation point of view and if more and more people are planting and maintaining woodlands that have tree species other than sitka bloody spruce then that has to be a good thing.
 

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