The RFS Excellence in Forestry Small Woodlands Awards recognise and reward projects where smaller woodlands are managed on a multipurpose basis with clearly stated objectives. Woodlands may be recent or old but must have been established for at least 10 years and of a maximum size of 20 hectares.

Commended: Simon and Sonia Hodgson for their Higher Minicleave Wood, Chumleigh, Devon

The judges said: “This wood has been in family ownership since 1952. It is well maintained and shows the full benefit of continuity of management and inherited family woodland wisdom.”

The family has restored active management to the wood, which is divided into eight compartments with trees varying in age from 80-140 years. Trees are mainly of oak coppicing origin and some Douglas fir and beech.

Timber provides thinning for fencing and some wood fuel, and the larger timber is converted to planks on site and air dried.

Nest boxes have encouraged tawny owls and pied fly catchers, while dormice use the hibernation boxes.

Simon carries out all the work in the woodland himself.

Simon says: “Our objective is to leave the woodland in a sound condition for our future generations to enjoy as much as we do.”