Neath Valley Forest Resource Plan
Location and setting
The Neath Valley forest amounts to 2,806 Ha and is situated in the Valley between Glyn-Neath (to the north east) and Neath (to the South West).
Rheola Forest is located on the North West side of the Neath Valley and A465 Heads of the Valleys Road. It consists of a densely forested valley side which descends from the Sarn Helen Roman Road to the old A465 in the valley bottom.
Glyncastle is situated South West of this on the opposite side of the valley to Rheola. It descends from the Coed Morgannwg Way at the plateaux of the South-Eastern Valley side down into the Neath Valley bottom and A465 Heads of the Valleys Road.
It is within the Neath Port Talbot Planning Authority boundary.
Summary of objectives
- Continue to maintain a sustainable supply of timber production through design of felling and choice of restocking species.
- Continued management and restoration of deep peat areas to support carbon, water regulation and biodiversity.
- Continue to increase the resilience of our woodlands by diversifying the restocking species being planted so that large areas of woodland are all no longer vulnerable to a disease which affects single species. This will also benefit the appearance of our woodlands within the landscape.
- Increase structural diversity through LISS management where appropriate and consideration of the scale, size and timing of any clear fell avoiding the felling of adjacent coupes. Older conifer crops should be retained where possible to maintain forest structure and productive potential.
- Increase areas identified for thinning within the 5-year thinning plan to enable LISS management and PAWS restoration.
- Improve habitat connectivity by maintaining and enhancing areas of ancient semi-natural woodland and restoring plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites in line with strategic prioritisation policy. Facilitate native woodland expansion where the main crop of larch has had to be prematurely harvested. Restocking of these areas is a key priority going forward to ensure that there is no resulting net loss in forest cover. There is scope to expand and diversify broadleaf sections of the woodland to assist in habitat provision and carbon sequestration where possible.
- Heritage and cultural features to be identified to avoid damage.
- Maintain recreation provision and consider the development of a recreation and access management plan.
- Utilise the current road and riparian zone network for the benefit of biodiversity by creating linkages with open habitat.