Portobello Farm, Sutton
Written by: James Ream
This project was all about providing the necessary platform to enable us to bring our farm woodland into positive management. This involved creating a Woodland Management Plan that was backed up by an Ancient Woodland Report, conducting a Great-crested newt survey on a pond to establish whether they were present or not, and improving all of the access into the woodland so that each of the blocks of woodland can now be accessed for management.
We have achieved setting the woodland up to enable us to bring it into positive management. All of the processes we have achieved with this project has enabled us to enter the woodland into a Countryside Stewardship scheme.
Benefits to People
The wider community within Greensand Country will benefit from the ecological improvements provided by this project as it has improved a locally important habitat that will help support similar habitats within the area.
Personally I have gained a thorough understanding of what will be necessary for us to manage the woodland in a positive manner for the future.
Benefits to Heritage & Landscape
The project has enabled us to bring 38ha of under-managed woodland into positive management, which will have many benefits for the diversity of wildlife it supports for many years to come.
The landscape has been enhanced by the improvement of the habitat within the project, it will help provide a valuable link to other key priority habitats within the Greensand Ridge.
Challenges & Lessons Learnt
Issues thrown up by COVID -19 caused us problems, mainly the sourcing of materials throughout the project. We did manage to overcome these challenges but it has left us adrift of our intended project budget.
I would encourage anyone doing a similar project to keep the project as stream-lined as possible, and to be realistic about timescales and whether they are achievable.