ShopBooksWoodlander – A guide to sustainable woodland management

Woodlander – A guide to sustainable woodland management


Woodlander is a complete and comprehensive guide to managing a small woodland, incorporating nearly 30 years of knowledge and experience from woodsman Ben Law and his unique home in Prickly Nut Wood.
Woodlander contains everything you need to know if you are managing, or intend to manage, a small woodland. Ben’s inspiring, forest-dwelling life has allowed him to put together a complete package of detailed information and practical examples based on his personal experience, giving this beautiful book an entirely authentic voice. Every page is infused with a deep respect for the traditions of the past while also embracing new ideas, methods and creative thinking.
This is a holistic approach to woodland management, which looks at the entire place – the wildlife it supports, the natural cycles of growth and life, the precious products it creates and the communities that inhabit and surround it. All the while, understanding and emphasising that it is a balance of all these things that makes a healthy, biodiverse, resilient ecosystem.
Detailed sections cover different types of woodland, the rich history behind them, how to assess what you’ve got, practical maintenance, planning for the future, promoting wildlife and biodiversity, harvesting and extracting timber, the tools you will need, crafts, social forestry and an in-depth resources section. Dotted throughout are personal snippets, observations and insights from Ben’s life at Prickly Nut Wood.



About the author

Ben Law, woodsman, craftsman, eco-builder, teacher and writer, lives and works in Prickly Nut Wood in West Sussex, UK. The building of his unique woodland home was featured on Grand Designs in the UK and was voted by viewers as the most popular episode ever. Ben runs courses on sustainable woodland management and permaculture, runs a specialist eco-building company and trains apprentices. Ben Law is the author of several books, including The Woodland House (Permanent Publications, 2005). The Woodland Year (Permanent Publications, 2008), and Woodsman: Living in a Wood in the 21st Century and Woodland Craft (GMC Publications, 2015).

Table of contents


Chapter One: Types of woodland

Historical overview

Ancient woodland

Ancient semi-natural woodland

Broadleaf plantation

Coniferous plantation

Mixed plantation

Continuous-cover forestry

Coppice woodland

Coppice with standards

Short-rotation coppice



Chapter Two: Understanding your woodland

Woodland assessment



Legal requirements/insurance/felling licences/chainsaw certification/tax/planning/European protected species

Management plans

Chapter Three: Establishing new woodlands

Long-term vision

Natural regeneration

Climate change

Native or non-native

Planting the woodland

Protection and maintenance

Chapter Four: Silvicultural management systems

Establishing new woodlands – climate change planning

Managing for timber


Species choice/uses/measuring volumes

Managing for wildlife and biodiversity

Threats, pests and diseases

Chapter Five: Tools for woodland management

Cutting tools – high pruning

Timber-moving tools

Extraction Tools

Timber measuring and marking tools

Chapter Six: Seeing the wood from the trees

Tree to finished product

Woodland craft

Wood fuel

Mobile sawmilling

Non-timber woodland produce


Chapter Seven: Community/social forestry

Community woodlands

Woodland weddings/funerals

Woodland co-operatives

The woodland volunteer

Forest schools


The value of place -woodland retreats/courses/camping/bushcraft/foraging

Food growing

Chapter Eight: Woodland Ownership

Buying woodland

Woodlotting and group ownership

A final word – our responsibility



Further reading

Tool suppliers

Recommended tree nurseries

Woodland organisations

Woodland estate agents

Woodland insurance

Useful apps for woodland management