Landscape management

A traditional approach to woodland management


To create, develop and manage our woodlands and plantations we use a combination of traditional thinning and coppicing on the trees and shrubs. This approach is broadly similar to the historic way woodlands were traditionally managed in lowland England. Known as 'coppice with standards', it is a system which creates a visually diverse and healthy landscape comprising of widely spaced trees of varying age and height with a shrub or coppice layer of variety and colour underneath.

The tall dominating trees found in plantations are periodically thinned out. This usually happens when they start competing for the same light and like ‘seeds in a tray’ all start pushing up looking for more light, without necessarily putting on any stem strength. At this same time, they will start to starve the under canopy and ground flora of light, which is vital for their survival.

As we carry out tree thinnings, we look to remove diseased trees or trees that are structurally weak and might fail or collapse in the future. We also look to maintain and encourage a diversity of species. This helps safeguards plantations or the woodlands from future attack from pests or disease e.g. Chalara or Ash Dieback, which could be disastrous in in mono-cultures.

Shrub species that can be found within woodlands, plantations or ‘stand-alone’ shrub beds are often coppiced on an appropriate cycle. Coppicing is a process where the shrub (or tree) is cut above the ground and is allowed to grow back. In a woodland scenario, the resulting re-growth will form a strong shrub layer beneath the tree canopy. Coppicing of shrubs will also maintain plant health, which is vital in the harsh clay soils that the plants often find themselves in, as these soils have often been disturbed and compressed during the build stage of Milton Keynes. Copping generally also encourages the plant to retain vigour, without over extending themselves, thus saving plants from weakening or dying. Coppicing will help the root systems cater for the rest of the plant by allowing them to provide the necessary amount of water and nutrients for the plant to survive. Plants are often coppiced to maintain colour or flowering strength; plants such as the red or yellow Dogwoods are coppiced to retain a strong and vivid stem colour, which is most prevalent in young stems and was part of the original design objectives. Coppicing is also carried out to maintain sight lines along footpaths or around bends or to roads.

You can already see what an attractive environment such techniques create by visiting Linford Wood, Shenley Wood or Howe Park Wood, where we have been using this traditional approach for several decades. The results are a healthy landscape for both our leisure and enjoyment and for the rich wildlife which thrives within the trees canopy and the undergrowth.

Tree identifier

The Parks Trust is a member of the UK Forest Certification Group and will undertake and promote sustainable forest management to UK Woodland Assurance Standard. The Trust’s intention is to protect and maintain the woodland under its management, ensuring it stays fit for purpose in an urban situation, while developing and maintaining its ecological integrity. Work will involve thinning and coppicing works, generally avoiding clear fell operations. Re-stocking and management of regeneration will continue as appropriate to each compartment.


Discover our parks

  • Linford Wood

    Facilities:

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    Enclosed in the year 1264 by Baron Von Pippard, the original owner of the Linford Manor estate, Linford Wood is the largest and oldest of the Trust's three ancient woodlands. Despite its location close to the city centre, Linford Wood provides a tranquil haven for wildlife and people. Find out more about how we manage Linford Wood by clicking here.

    Refreshments
    There are no facilities within the wood but hot and cold drinks and other refreshments are available from the BP garage on the west side of the wood.

  • Shenley Wood

    Facilities:

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    Shenley Wood is one of three ancient woodlands in Milton Keynes, a wonderful spot for a quiet walk and to enjoy the abundant wildlife.

    Refreshments
    There are no facilities on site but there is a range of pubs and shops in Shenley Church End about 10 minutes’ walk away to the east.

  • Howe Park Wood

    Facilities:

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    Howe Park is probably the woodland mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1086. Parts of it may be rare surviving fragments of the 'wildwood' that covered the whole of lowland Britain after the last Ice Age, 6-11,000 years ago.

    Refreshments
    There is a café at Howe Park Wood serving cakes, drinks and cold foods.