For Best Professional Woodland Management in the Show
At the 2017 Royal Welsh Show, John Ferguson MICFor was winner of this splendid trophy, for their management work on Rhyd-y-Felin, 475 hectares of commercial plantation owned by the FIM Forest Fund, and located near Bala.
It was planted in the 1970’s, largely unthinned with 190 hectares now felled and restocked, using a range of species, but aiming some 72% Sitka spruce. This has produced remarkable timber returns even from the highest land at 500 metres above sea level, on which yields of 500 tonnes per hectare were recorded.
The management has been led by its UKWAS plan detailing the programme and required management regime. Restocking has been remarkably successful, and the three year old restock in the plantation’s third compartment shows high levels of stocking for Sitka spruce and Douglas fir, with hardwoods on the lowest plantations on ancient woodland sites slopes.
For the owners, the annual non forestry income is a special feature, with various activities more than paying for the annual routine work, particularly from trail bike training and events. Sporting rights are not owned but income is obtained from the famous Llechwedd-y Garth shoot for the many pens located and relocated annually. Forest access is regularly upgraded and has ensured that these activities thrive.
The judges found this to be an outstanding plantation, with much to offer the industry in future. The quality of the work undertaken by the managers was seen as a special factor in its ongoing success.