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UPM Tilhill gears up for second phase of massive planting operation in Wales

A team from UPM Tilhill is involved in one of Wales’ largest new woodland planting operations for 20 years - on behalf of a woodland charity.

Cyffin Wood

Cyffin Wood

With the aim of creating 140 hectares of new, native woodland at Cyffin Estate near Lake Vyrnwy in Powys, Mid Wales, on land owned by Will Woodlands.

Will Woodlands is a privately funded charity whose aim is tree planting for public enjoyment, heritage enrichment and nature conservation. The Cyffin Estate tree planting is grant-aided by the Forestry Commission’s Glastir Woodland Creation scheme.

This is the fourth farm Will Woodlands has bought for native woodland creation and sees UPM Tilhill working with forestry experts from John Cleggs who have been appointed to oversee the implementation of the operational work.

A former sheep-rearing hill farm of largely improved grassland, the tree planting at Cyffin is being carried out in two phases. The first was 40 hectares of planting completed at the end of February 2012. The second phase will see 100 hectares being planted with native woodland by the end of Feb 2013.

UPM Tilhill won the contract for both phases of the tree-planting work after it was put out to open tender by Cleggs last year. Factors that helped UPM Tilhill win the tender included price, but also the location of the company’s North Wales office, which is close to the site, and employing local tree planters and trees from a local nursery. Securing benefit to the local area is very important to Will Woodlands and UPM Tilhill was able to help with this aim.

Cyffin Estate has numerous existing areas of woodland and extensive hedgerows, as well as agricultural fields. The planting will create wildlife corridors that will link to other woodland and forest in the Vyrnwy area to secure significant environmental gain compared to improved grassland. Will Woodlands has its own resident forester at Cyffin to implement maintenance works and to monitor improvements in wild flowers, insect and birdlife.

A spokesman for Will Woodlands said the charity looked forward to managing and maintaining Cyffin woodlands in the best traditions of British forestry: “Substantial areas of land for new planting, which meets quality and environmental criteria, have been a scarce commodity in North Wales in recent years. The opportunity to contribute to the environment and economy of North Wales by planting new, native broadleaved woodland on this scale is one to cherish.”

To facilitate access within the farm, a network of high quality stone roads has been installed by a local contractor using material quarried on site. As well as the native woodland, areas of Scots Pine and Douglas Fir have also been planted to maintain diversity.

UPM Tilhill District Manager Rory Chisholm said: “We are delighted to be involved with this very large and significant project. And to be working with Will Woodlands, John Clegg and local contractors. Although Cyffin seems to be a big tree-planting scheme, woodland is still a relatively small percentage of overall land use in the area.”

The operation was organised by UPM Tilhill staff Assistant Forest Manager Claire Wightman and Deputy District Manager Simon Graham and all the work on site was carried out by local farmer Emrys Jones and his young team. With over 30 years’ of forestry experience, the high quality of the planting work at Cyffin is a tribute to the skill, hard work and close supervision of Emrys. There is a complex pattern of mixed tree species to adhere to, based around a core of Sessile Oak. All trees are supported by a cane and spiral shelter, then weeded to control competing vegetation. Phase two will be even more of a challenge with more than twice the area to plant in a similar time period.

It’s the largest project to be approved so far under the Glastir Woodland Creation scheme, which is being delivered on the Welsh Government’s behalf by Forestry Commission Wales. Apart from some habitat land, all 140 hectares of the farmland will be planted with native broadleaves including oak, ash, alder, field maple and cherry.

As well as contributing to the Welsh Government’s target of creating 100,000 hectares of new woodland over the next 20 years, the new woodland will provide a boost to wildlife and biodiversity by linking existing remnants of native woodland.

The Glastir grant, which is part of the Welsh Government’s new sustainable land management scheme has replaced Better Woodlands for Wales (now closed to new applications).

Established more than 60 years ago, UPM Tilhill is a national company operating from a network of offices throughout the UK.

UPM Tilhill is the UK’s largest timber harvesting and forest management company. The company provides a full range of consultancy and contracting services to the forest owner and forestry investor. It also provides market leading services in utility arboriculture and commercial landscaping throughout the UK. Further information is available on the company’s website at


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