The Better Woodlands for Wales scheme
The Better Woodlands for Wales forestry grant scheme was introduced in 2004 by the Forestry Commission Wales to place a greater emphasis on good quality woodland management. The scheme was launched in 2006 and replaced the existing Woodland Grant Scheme and the New Native Woodland Planting Scheme.
Administered by the Forestry Commission Wales, the scheme has been in operation across the whole of Wales, offering grants especially designed for Welsh woodlands, based upon an approved long term management plan.
The four Welsh Archaeological Trusts have been responsible for the provision of historic environment management planning advice within the scheme, and the Trusts have been consulted on every application to the scheme whether for management of existing woodland or areas of new planting.
Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust's involvement
The Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust (CPAT) have been consulted on 755 Better Woodlands for Wales applications throughout the life of the scheme, all of which have varied greatly, from small areas of farm woodland, to vast tracts of commercial forestry and sprawling semi-natural estate woodlands. Each case was subjected to a rapid desk-based assessment, in which the Heritage Management team would inspect the Historic Environment Record, early OS maps and other sources to provide the FCW with all known information regarding the historic environment of that area of land. Where features of archaeological or historical interest were identified, a WHE1 (Woodland Historic Environment Report 1) was produced.
CPAT have compiled a total of 307 WHE1 reports and have provided information and management advice on over 1,500 historic sites within Clwyd and Powys. In addition to this, hundreds of new sites that were previously unknown to the HER have been identified from old maps and aerial photography. In cases where forestry works were deemed likely to affect historic features within the woodland, a site visit was carried out to discuss the management proposals with the woodland planners and ensure no unnecessary damage occured. A WHE2 (Woodland Historic Environment Report 2) report was then compiled. A total of 38 of the consulted woodlands were subjected to a WHE2 site visit by CPAT during the scheme.
Distribution of the Better Woodlands for Wales schemes monitored by CPAT
Better Woodlands for Wales and the Historic Environment
Overall, the involvement of the Welsh Archaeological Trusts in the Better Woodlands for Wales Scheme has been extremely beneficial in not only ensuring the preservation of historic sites within Wales, through controlled woodland managament, but also contributing to our knowledge of these sites and considerably enhancing the Historic Environment Record for Wales as a whole.
The Better Woodlands for Wales Scheme has now closed to new applicants as a new Glastir Woodland Creation grant is now available through Forestry Commission Wales. This is available to all landowners across Wales with more than 0.25 hectares of land which has been designated by FCW as suitable for new planting. FCW will deliver this scheme on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government until 1st January 2013. After that date, woodland grants will be integrated into Glastir, the new Sustainable Land Management Scheme for Wales managed by the Department for Rural Affairs.