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.


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 will be hosting their next webinar – Regenerative Forestry

with Clive Thomas, Wednesday 21st February 2024 4-5pm

This online event is hosted by CCFG featuring Clive Thomas who will deliver a 30 minute presentation on this topic. This will be followed by a question and answer session for participants. 

Join this webinar to hear more and discuss the Soil Association’s Regenerative Forestry report. This report and supporting evidence was developed to inform advocacy for an approach to forestry in the UK founded on goals of integration, resilience, restoration, engagement and reward. Download the report ahead of the webinar to learn more.

Regenerative Forestry Report (

Clive Thomas is Soil Association’s senior adviser for forestry, leading on regenerative forestry including the integration of trees and woodland management into farming systems, as well as policy development in response to voluntary carbon and natural capital markets. Clive is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Foresters and has worked in private and state forestry sectors during a 30+ year career managing forests and developing forest policy.






Introducing CCFQT

Continuous Cover Forestry Question Time – CCFQT

Please join us for our inaugural online CCF question time. Our Chair, Bill Mason, will be joined by a panel of foresters: Phil Morgan, Gareth Browning, and Ben Walker. The panel members will reply to questions about any aspect of CCF. The questions can either be provided in advance or posted during the session.

  • Phil Morgan, past chairman of CCFG and president of ProSilva, manages upland transformation and specialises in inventory and CCF training.
  • Gareth Browning has looked after the nation’s forests across North and West Cumbria for over 30 years. He has been the driving force behind the development of CCF in a number of forests around Bassenthwaite Lake and is a passionate founding partner in Wild Ennerdale. Gareth has been experimenting with thinning approaches, underplanting and steep ground working. For services to forestry and nature recovery Gareth was honoured with an MBE in the Kings first birthday honours list last year.
  • Ben Walker has been working with trees since his first job in a tree nursery aged 14. Since then he has worked for woodland charities, social enterprises and estates, in both practical and management roles. Ben primarily creates and manages CCF woodlands for their environmental and timber resources, and currently is working as the forester for Raincliffe Woods Community Enterprise, alongside engaging in consultancy for estates and the NCFed.

This is an experimental session; if it is successful we may hold more sessions in future.