Author Archive

CCFG’s Chair, Bill Mason, has died

Bill Mason

It is with great regret that we have to inform you that our Chair, Bill Mason, has passed away unexpectedly over the weekend. Bill has been Chair for over 10 years, and has provided kind and gentle but firm leadership to the Committee on the work of CCFG. 

Chris Tracey, Scotland Coordinator, writes: It is difficult to find the words for the loss of such a lovely man, a real gentleman and true forester to his core. He is a great loss to forestry as a whole as well as obviously to ourselves. Our deepest sympathy extends to his family.


Study Tour To Wallonia, Belgium

Monday 2nd – Thursday 5th September 2024

We are delighted to announce that we plan to run a study tour to Wallonia, Belgium from Wednesday 2nd – Thursday 5th September 2024, in conjunction with Pro Silva Wallonia.

Proprosed programme

Monday 2nd September 2024: Members will make their own way to the hotel in Namur, ready to depart for the forest in the morning. 

Tuesday 3rd September 2024: Visit of the forest estate of the University of Namur, led by Charles Debois, former manager of the estate and President of Pro Silva Wallonia.
– 18ha of mixed natural regeneration, 6 years after spruce clear-cut. Effects of harvesting and preservation of pre-existing native Oak, Birch and Scots Pine seedlings.
– monitoring and operations in natural regeneration (especially in favour of oak) in the understory of an old Scots Pine stand (6 ha).
– Small forest operations (pruning, clearing) of natural Oak seedlings scattered among the numerous natural seedlings of Beech and Birch in an old Beech-Oak stand
– Oak and Hornbeam stand and Oak and Ash stand : large-wood harvesting method and managing firewood
– Economical results of CCF management of the estate. This study is based on inventories carried out between 1979 and 2019 and a compilation of all timber sales of this period.

Wednesday 4th September 2024 : Visit of the Community forests of “Vencimont” and “Bourseigne-Neuve”, in the Ardenne Region of Wallonia. Christophe Moreau, the forester of this district will show us different examples of CCF management:
– Diversification experiments: understory planting in conifer stands, saving oak seedlings in natural regeneration, etc.
– Management in Spruce stands that are now reaching maturity and are not in optimum site conditions
– Small forest operations in natural regeneration, pruning and optimizing young mixed stands
– Evolution of stands and discussion on the effect of the droughts of recent years.
– Soil protection and tracks

Thursday 5th septembrer 2024 (morning) : Visit of the village forest of Fernelmont (15 km of Namur)
We will visit two oak plantations (1986-1990) where different silvicultural scenarios have been tested as part of a scientific experiment. The experiment aimed to compare different initial candidate-tree (CT) density and to assess the optimal target-tree (TT) density. This experiment is particularly helpfull to quantify the effect of thinning (or crop tree release) on tree growth (with observed annual increment up to 1 cm/year) and timber quality.

You will need to arrange and pay for your own hotel and travel but please do not book yet (until we are certain we have enough numbers to make this tour viable). We hope to confirm that we have enough members booked at the beginning of June, at which point we will encourage you to book your travel and a room in the hotel (IBIS Centre Namur). We will also require a non-refundable £50 deposit, towards the cost of the coach and evening meals (the total cost will be confirmed in early June). 

Register to attend by completing the form included. 

Please note, we have a maximum of 20 places in total, so please complete the registration form early to avoid disappointment.

Non-members may also apply; however if over-subscribed, preference will be given to members. 


We are also offering up to two subsidised places to student members, which will include a partial subsidy of your hotel costs (in addition to arranging your own travel). If you would like to be considered for one of these places, please complete the form, including a statement (1 side of A4/ 500 words) explaining exactly why you as an individual would like to attend this study tour, with as many details as possible. The deadline for this is also 31st May. 

Deadline for registration is Friday 31st May 2024 (but some places are already allocated to those who expressed an interest earlier – so book yours now!)

Register to attend by completing the Registration Form.

Please contact Polly at if you have any questions.


CCFG will be hosting their next webinar – Underplanting of conifers in Britain – with Victoria Stokes – on Thursday 23rd May 2024 4-5pm.

Underplanting is a relatively little-used technique for establishing trees while avoiding the disadvantages of clearfelling and may become increasingly important where a change of species is desirable. This webinar will report results from an underplanting experiment in the long-running CCF trial area at Clocaenog Forest in North Wales. Survival and growth of five different conifer species planted under a mature Sitka spruce overstorey will be compared. Impacts of the subsequent thinning operations and the final overstorey removal on survival of the underplanted seedlings will be presented, and responses of the five species to the removal of the overstorey 9 years after planting will be examined. Some operational “lessons learned” will also be highlighted.

Victoria is a Senior Scientist in the Silviculture and Wood Properties Science Group at Forest Research. She has over 20 years’ experience in carrying out research on management of Britain’s forests to increase resilience to climate change and biotic threats, whilst maintaining productivity. She leads research on Upland Silviculture, focussing on management techniques which increase tree species diversity and stand age structure, such as Continuous Cover Forestry. She has contributed to many collaborative projects and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Foresters.

To book your place please visit this link. 

Following the webinar on 21st March with Danny Alder talking about the biodiversity research project on the Rushmore Estate on the Dorset-Wiltshire border looking at the responses of woodland birds, bats and woodland plants to different stand management, a recording has now been made available on  YouTube which you can view using this link. 

You can also watch Andy Poore’s talk on Applying CCF in Lowland Broadleaved Woods, which also refers to the Rushmore Estate, but was recorded in October 2021. 

CCFG will be hosting their next webinar – Biodiversity responses to transformation to irregular high forest – with Danny Alder – on Thursday 21st March 2024 4-5pm.

Danny’s talk will be about the biodiversity research project on the Rushmore Estate on the Dorset-Wiltshire border looking at the responses of woodland birds, bats and woodland plants to different stand management with a particular focus on the introduction of irregular high forest management.

The forest manager at Rushmore is Andy Poore, a founder member of CCFG, who gave a webinar in 2021 – to watch Andy’s talk for more background on this site please see this link

Understanding how biodiversity responds to changes in the management of woodlands can be helpful to forest managers, especially in woodlands with a high nature conservation value, and more generally where the aim of forest management is to work with natural processes towards sustainable management. In this study on the Rushmore Estate, in the Cranborne Chase National Landscape, different taxonomic groups were sampled across different stand types. These included 1) traditional coppice and coppice with standards, 2) limited intervention, stands where management had effectively stopped for at least 30 years, 3) Irregular high-forest; a single tree or small group selection system which had been introduced in the 1980’s, and 4) Transitional management where stands were at the early stages of transformation towards irregular high-forest, which had come out of production and were either over-stood coppice or pole-stage, closed canopy. To help understand the responses of the different taxonomic groups it was important to look at how the structure of the woodland varied and relate these structural characteristics to the different species encountered.

The talk will highlight the study methods and main findings, and will discuss the implications of the research which has produced three peer-reviewed papers in Forest Ecology and Management. A summary technical article is due to appear in the spring of 2024 in the Quarterly Journal of Forestry.

Dr Danny Alder undertook this research towards his PhD within the Natural Sciences department at Manchester Metropolitan University. Danny lives in Dorset and is an ecologist working in countryside management. He has a special interest in conservation ecology and research focusing on woodlands and their management.

To book your place please visit this link. 

CCFG Event

Welcome to the 49th issue of the Continuous Cover Forestry Group Newsletter, containing Bill Mason’s Chair’s report, articles including field visit reports from Autumn 2023 and Alternate Rack Thinning by Gareth Browning.  



            1. Chairs Report – Bill Mason
              Download (2 MB )
            2. Dundreggan field visit report – Chris Tracey
              Download (2 MB )
            3. Kielder field visit report – Gareth Browning
              Download (2 MB )
            4. Ireland study tour report – Russell Rowley, Jim Wright, Harry Vernon, Andy Dodgson, Simon Stuart
              Download (8 MB )
            5. Coed Bwlch y Mynydd and Coed Fron Drain field visit report – Jamie Brookes
              Download (3 MB )
            6. Forest of Dean field visit report – Jamie Brookes
              Download (2 MB )
            7. Alice Holt field visit report – Solange Montero Terry
              Download (1 MB )
            8. Alternate Rack Thinning – Gareth Browning
              Download (2 MB )
            9. CCFG Events 2024
              Download (541 KB )
            10. Committee Members
              Download (604 KB )
            11. Welcome to New Members
              Download (599 KB )
            12. Bits and Pieces
              Download (610 KB )