Sustainable woodland management

Dryad Woodland Enterprise specialises in all aspects of sustainable woodland management and coppice restoration.

Our services include:

  • Management planning and felling license applications
  • Forestry Commission’s English Woodland Grant Scheme advice and applications
  • Rotational coppice restoration and stool regeneration
  • Coppicing and wood-fuel harvesting
  • Standard timber-tree felling and thinning
  • Ride improvement, maintenance and management
  • Wood and timber extraction and marketing

Isle of Wight woods, copses and forests

The Isle of Wight is home to a considerable number of woods, copses and forests. Many of these qualify as ‘ancient woodland’, having been managed for over 400 years. Regardless of age, these wooded enclaves between farmland and our centres of human habitation play host to a fantastic array of flora and fauna. Acting as both refuges and corridors between habitats, the Island’s woods are an increasingly important environment for innumerable species of wildlife.

In terms of general composition, our long local heritage of coppicing and woodland timber management coupled with our lack of deer has enabled our woods to develop a truly diverse floral structure, with rich ground and field layers below the shrubs and trees.

Traditional management techniques such as hazel coppicing (practiced in the UK for centuries, if not millennia), have developed unique and precious relationships between innumerable plants, insects and animals. However, in many of the Island’s woods the dramatic changes in land management over the course of the 20th Century have put a great strain on many of these relationships.

The wonderful biodiversity we find in our woods has developed as a direct result of the continual efforts of countless generations of woodsmen and coppice workers cutting and harvesting the shrub and tree layers for various products. This regular cutting allows direct sunlight to fall onto the woodland floor, thereby encouraging the numerous woodland floral species to flower and produce seed. However, the near total demise of our coppice industries has led to the widespread neglect of what have always been extensively, if not intensively, managed environments. Conservationists and Government now recognise the significance of traditionally managed woods, copses and forests for biodiversity and have introduced generous grant-based incentives to encourage woodland owners to take a proactive approach to managing these indispensable environments.

At Dryad Woodland Enterprise, we firmly believe that our woods and copses are a hugely important part of our heritage both environmentally and culturally. Throughout the Island, examples of our ancestors’ reliance on coppicing can be found. Virtually every multi-stemmed hazel, ash, oak or sweet chestnut you may see during a walk in the woods is the result of many years of harvesting poles and rods for products such as hurdles, handles, hedging stakes and thatching spars (to name just a few) or fuels in the form of faggots and charcoal. Whilst we have been busily finding alternative ways of constructing our buildings, enclosing our land and heating our homes the woods have been left to their own devises for the first time in centuries. Although appearing to thrive superficially, our woods are darker and shadier places than they have ever been. As the trees grow taller and broader the flowers and shrubs of the lower levels are under enormous stress, struggling to capture enough light to produce the flowers and seeds essential for reproduction. The insect pollinators of these plants find neither shelter nor sustenance, causing a general decline in the bird and mammal species which rely on them for nourishment. It is humbling to recognise that the whole food chain has been seriously disrupted by the cessation of coppicing and active woodland management.

Woodland owners are the custodians of some of the most precious wildlife habitats in the British Isles. If you own woodland anywhere on the Isle of Wight, Dryad Woodland Enterprise can help you manage, maintain and improve your asset for the benefit and pleasure of all who come after us, be they people, plants or animals.

Contact me to find out more.

About Matt Huxley

Matt Huxley

Matt initially worked as independent sub-contractors for a number of well-respected local woodland workers and tree surgeons before starting Dryad Woodland Enterprise in 2017.

Dryad Woodland Enterprise has since grown to encompass a broad range of woodland work, coppice restoration, forestry.

Find out more about Matt

In safe hands

Buy with confidence - Isle of Wight

Covered by £5 million Public Liability Insurance and fully qualified through the City and Guilds National Proficiency Tests Council (NPTC), Dryad Woodland Enterprise operates across the Isle of Wight with professionalism, skill and experience.

Find out more about Dryad Woodland Enterprise

Large or small contracts

Thinning operation. Lawson cyprus & Western red cedar. Loading produce. Combley Great Wood.

Our services remain available on a sub-contractual basis when our reliability and expertise is required by others working within the forestry, woodland and tree care sectors.

Forestry, woodland and tree care sectors