Wye Valley North Forest Resource Plan Consultation

Closed 20 Dec 2023

Opened 20 Nov 2023

Feedback updated 26 Apr 2024

We asked

We asked for your comments on the Forest Resource Plan for the Welsh Government Woodland Estate in the northern Wye Valley. The Forest Resource Plan is a high level plan that determines the overall management of the woodlands, setting out the long term objectives for each woodland (ancient woodland restoration, native woodland management, or standard forestry management, for example), and the general approach to any restocking, such as with native broadleaf or coniferous species. But the plan does not go into the specific day to day management of the estate, this is provided by our Land Management and Forest Operations Team whose work the plan informs.

You said

We had a fairly high level of responses to this consultation with 15 people taking the time to provide comments, showing how much people value the woodlands in the Wye Valley. Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond. We also had some feedback at our drop-in session in The Narth back in December.

There was broad support for the aims to restore and manage ancient semi natural woodland on the estate, improve biodiversity and increase the amount of native broadleaves within the woodlands. 

We had some responses with concerns over the maintenance of footpaths within our Wye Valley North woodlands and some responses were concerned about the water quality of the River Wye and how forestry may contribute to that and wanting to make sure this was factored in and managed accordingly. There were also a few concerns raised over specific specimens or groups of special trees within the woodlands and what would be happening with them.

There was some dissatisfaction about the use of the forest by off-road vehicles and the damage they are causing and also questions around Wild Boar management.

We did

We have taken the comments received on board and they have been shared with relevant teams within Natural Resources Wales so that where possible they can be actioned or recorded to be taken into consideration for future management. The level of interest in this FRP shows how much the woodlands are valued locally and by visitors for recreation and health and wellbeing which is something we want to support and encourage.

Where wording in the objectives has not been clear, such as ‘infrastructure’ we have tried to amend this and we have also added in a specific objective around footpath maintenance.

We realise that there are certain recreational pressures that are a concern and we are working hard to change this and encourage responsible recreation. Any issues of anti social behaviour, such as illegal off-roading, should be reported to our incident hotline (03000 65 3000) and any illegal activity to the hotline and/or the police via 101. 

There were some concerns raised around forestry activities and their impact on water runoff and soil erosion, particularly in relation to the River Wye. Forestry activities follow best practice to minimise impacts on the local environment, and although can sometimes look unsightly, is carried out in line with the UK Forestry Standard and UK Woodland Assurance Scheme. The UK Forestry Standard provides guidance to ensure water run off is managed appropriately, which is followed during all our operations. We have to carry out felling operations in winter months when it is wetter to comply with protected species legislation, so we do not disturb or affect species such as dormice or birds during nesting season.

We are working hard to balance the demands on the Welsh Government Woodland Estate and the three objectives as set out in the Woodlands for Wales: The Welsh Government’s Strategy for Woodlands and Trees (2018), that they provide benefits for communities, for biodiversity and the environment, and for the economy. We are also working hard to meet the challenges provided by diseases such as Phytophthora ramorum, which has impacted larch, ash die back, and other diseases that are affecting the resilience of the woodlands.


Natural Resources Wales is responsible for the sustainable management of the publicly owned woodlands and forests of Wales. They are managed for the benefit and well-being of the people who visit them and depend on them for their livelihood. This responsibility includes improving their biodiversity and long-term resilience to climate change so that future generations will also be able to enjoy the benefits they provide. Every ten years Natural Resources Wales reviews the long-term management plans for each forest area. These are compiled in a new Forest Resource Plan, which set out the long-term vision for these woodlands and are the basis for 10-25-year silvicultural programmes of work (management of the trees) that set out to deliver this vision.

Wye Valley North Forest Resource Plan includes 13 woodlands in Monmouthshire covering approximately 1,946 hectares. The setting for of the majority of the woodlands is mostly improved agricultural grassland, native broadleaved woodland, and urban centres. The majority of woodlands are Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS) or Ancient Semi Natural Woodlands (ASNW), with the Wye Valley being one of the most important areas in Wales for Ancient Woodland. The woods are also well used by the local community for informal recreation.

Wye Valley North Objectives

Below is a summary of objectives for the plan:

  • Restoration of the ancient woodland in the FRP area is a primary objective in line with the SE Area Statement, WG Woodland Strategy, and Wye Valley AONB Action Plan, with gradual removal of existing conifers over time through LISS allowing natural regeneration of broadleaves and diversification of species.
  • Maintain timber production where appropriate, including productive broadleaves. This will provide opportunities to diversify species and structure of the woodlands, which will enhance the sustainability and resilience of the forests, as well as provide economic benefits.
  • Diversify the forest species composition to increase resilience to pests and diseases, and the effects of climate change, whilst building a robust forest for future generations. Remove remaining stands of larch, manage ash, and manage invasive non-native species appropriately, including cherry laurel.
  • Invest in forest infrastructure to provide better access to allow more diverse management prescriptions within the woodlands, carry out regular thinning where possible, remove remaining larch stands, and conservation objectives.
  • Work with partners and other NRW teams to identify and deliver opportunities to connect and enhance priority habitats, protected areas within and adjacent to FRP woodlands, and priority and protected species, to improve resilience and connectivity and prevent negative impacts from management activities. Such as connecting and restoring ancient and native woodland, coppicing, connecting open habitats and rides, taking account of the various bat species present in the area during any management activities, and restoring and expanding areas of open heathland where appropriate.
  • Work with partners to encourage and increase responsible use and low impact recreation on the WGWE to deliver wellbeing benefits for local communities, user groups and visitors, and to reduce anti-social behaviour, including off-road vehicles, and fly tipping.
  • Forestry management should not contribute to the existing level of flood risk both within the woodlands and anywhere offsite and where possible, measures should be implemented to reduce any potential risk of flooding; both are to be achieved through good forestry practice in accordance with the latest UK Forestry Standard and relevant forestry guidance; and through consultation and engagement with the relevant Lead Local Flood Authority during planning of felling operations. Consideration of measures to reduce the volume of flows leaving forest blocks as a result of felling operations should include Natural Flood Management.
  • Forestry management should not cause any reduction of water quality both within on-site water features and watercourse draining off-site through good forestry practice in accordance with the latest UK Forestry Standard and relevant forestry guidance and have regard for the Severn River Basin Management Plan (2021-2027).
  • Work with our partners and communities to identify how and where the WGWE can deliver nature-based solutions for health and wellbeing and provide opportunities to connect people with nature, and where we can involve communities in its management.
  • Being good neighbours - Consult and engage with neighbours, communities, and other stakeholders regarding the management of the WGWE and upcoming operations to improve relationships and knowledge on how and why the estate is managed, reduce conflict, and encourage closer working relationships.
  • Work with neighbours and other stakeholders regarding the management of deer, grey squirrel, and wild boar on the WGWE and neighbouring areas to reduce negative impacts. Manage open space on the Welsh Government woodland estate to facilitate wildlife management.

Read the Wye Valley North Objectives (pdf)


This document helps to explain some of the categories shown on the maps below:

Explanation of map keys

Overview of Forest Resource Plan Forests

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Map 1 - Long Term Primary Management Objectives

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Map 2 - Forest Management Systems

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Map 3 – Indicative Forest Types and Habitats

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Summary of the main changes that will occur in the forest:

  • More broadleaves along river corridors and valley sides
  • Restoration of Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites
  • Diversification of tree species
  • Removal of remaining stands of larch to deal with phytophthora ramorum

Why your views matter

We would like to know your opinion and views on the new plans for Wye Valley North so it can help us improve the long-term management of the forest.

What happens next

A summary of the consultation responses and outcomes will be available on this website 4 to 6 weeks after the closing date.


  • Forestry Drop In Session

    From 6 Dec 2023 at 11:30 to 6 Dec 2023 at 18:00

    There will be a drop in session at The Narth Village Hall on the 6th December 2023. The Forest Resource Planner and Forestry Operational staff will be present to chat to anyone about the future of the forest in the Wye Valley North area.


  • Trellech United


  • Management
  • DCWW


  • Forest Management