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. 

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. 


CCFG will be hosting their next webinar – How can silvicultural systems help adapt forests to climate change? 

with Gary Kerr, Thursday 23rd November 2023 4-5pm

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

The talk will describe the main silvicultural systems we can use to manage forests and give a personal view about their application in Britain. In addition, the talk will give a summary of a the main risks to forests from climate change, the possible impacts and the evidence base for how the use of continuous cover can help mitigate these risks. Finally, the talk will consider how best to communicate ‘how to do continuous cover’ to new audiences. Along the way Gary will be asking the audience some questions, so have a paper and pen handy and be honest with yourself when the answers are revealed!


Gary was the Principal Silviculturist for Forest Research until September 23. The main thrust of his work has been applied silvicultural research and this has led to over 50 papers in peer reviewed journals, 16 Forestry Commission publications and over 50 articles in professional publications communicating the results of research. For the last ten years his work has focussed on alternative approaches to management and continuous cover silviculture. He was the Editor-in-Chief of Forestry: An International Journal of Forest Research, published by Oxford University Press for 20 years. After retiring from Forest Research he divides his time between working as the Commissioning Editor for the Quarterly Journal of Forestry, Chairing the Scientific Advisory Board of the European Forest Institute and continuing his association with FR as a Research Fellow.


CCFG will be hosting their next webinar – Coppice, Carbon and Catastrophes: The Joy and Pain of Managing for CCF in Our Times

with Arne Pommerening, Thursday 26th October 2023 4-5pm

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

Continuous Cover Forestry (CCF), i.e. forest management based on ecological principles, has been introduced to Ireland and the UK more than twenty years ago. Whilst in the early days identifying simple and robust methods of transforming plantations to woodlands with more complex structures were the primary concern, ongoing climate change and the recent energy crisis have added new challenges of managing for CCF. Many policymakers including the authors of the recent EU forest strategy and of associated recommendations proposed by the European Forest Institute see CCF as a major instrument for mitigating adverse effects of climate change. In this context, carbon forestry has become a major buzzword and a research field in its own right, however, it is still largely unknown how exactly existing woodlands should be managed for optimising carbon sequestration. Questions like “Is carbon forestry part of or a concept separate from CCF?” or “Can carbon forestry be carried out along with other management objectives or is a special focus required?” are hotly debated. Ongoing climate change and all its localised realisations such as spontaneous gales, droughts, floods and insect calamities can always bring the sudden end to any CCF woodland that we have transformed for many years with great effort. In that situation we may be left with little more than bare ground and methods are needed to establish new CCF woodlands from scratch. CCF from scratch may also include the use of coppice systems, particularly the use of coppice with standards and coppice selection systems. Such system can contribute to satisfying the current demand for sustainable energy whilst creating diverse habitats and providing high-quality timber at the same time.

Arne Pommerening is a professor at the Department of Forest Ecology and Management of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) at Umeå in Northern Sweden. For more than 20 years he has taught CCF to university classes in the UK, Switzerland and Sweden. Whilst working at Bangor University in Wales between 2000 and 2011, he contributed to the introduction of CCF in the UK and offered seminars in Ireland. Arne has recently published a textbook entitled “Continuous Cover Forestry – Theories, Concepts and Implementation” and he is currently involved in the introduction of CCF to Sweden.



CCFG visit to Forest of Dean. We will be hosted by James Williams, the Forest of Dean Forester responsible for the areas visited. The day will be spent looking at a number of stands of Douglas fir being managed under various continuous cover systems and some underplanting of Corsican pine. Particular subjects for interest will be: changing contractor mindsets, dealing with deer and wild boar, and excessive Western hemlock regeneration. This day will be the opportunity for discussion on a wide range of sites managed under CCF in parts of one of England’s largest and oldest state forests.

We will meet at Beechenhurst, where there is a café and toilets. We’ll assemble by the café building and then drive in convoy in the least number of vehicles possible to the first site. Please note that there may be a charge for parking (TBC). Also, the postcode may take you to the Speech House Hotel. The what3words reference for the site is enchanted.groomed.sharper and the grid reference is SO614120. 

Please meet us at 9.30, ready to leave at 10.00. We will probably finish around 15.30-16.00. 

Please ensure you bring wet weather clothing suitable for the time of year, and a packed lunch/ drinks for the day. 

CCFG members last had a formal visit to Kielder in 2004 and a lot has happened since then in England’s largest forest This visit will be hosted by James Clark the forester responsible for all CCF and thinning operations in Kielder. We will be visiting a number of sites in the North Tyne valley where recent thinning has taken place for both visual reasons and to encourage natural regeneration. We will also be able to discuss the impacts of storm Arwen in 2021 on many of the previous areas where CCF management was being undertaken within the valley.

Meeting place: Kielder castle : Post code NE48 1ER (car park and toilet available here before the visit and at lunch time).

Meeting time: 09.30 (depart at 10.00 prompt in shared vehicles)

Expected finish 15.30-16.00

Lunch: Bring your own food and drink

Suitable all weather clothing and PPE (High vis top and helmet) essential (and the famous Kielder midge may still be joining us!)

If you have booked a place and later find you are unable to attend please contact Polly ( in case someone else is able to fill your place. 

To book your place, please use this link