Thursday, 26 March 2015

Restoring Kent's Ancient Woodlands

During the last few years we have worked in partnership with the KWES - the Kent Woodland Employment Scheme.

KWES has achieved some impressive progress over the last 18 months and now employs 16 people who are undertaking a three-year woodland management apprenticeship.

KWES has kindly provided an introduction to their project which we have published verbatim below.  

If you have any questions please contact Susannah Ferguson at KWES directly (contact details below).


KWES Kent Woodland Employment Scheme is able to assist owners of ancient woodlands, particularly those which are not currently managed, by bringing them back into sustainable production, and profitability.   

Increases in demand for, and prices of, timber and woodfuel (logwood, chips and pellets) have made profits possible – but the pinch-point is the shortage of skilled workers able to restore the woodlands, and cut and extract the timber. 

KWES Kent Woodland Employment Scheme is a charity (and training company) set up to provide training and employment for ex-Service personnel, young people and ex-offenders  in Kent’s ancient woodlands. 

KWES now has 16 trainees whose apprenticeships last for three years, during which they are given theoretical training and practical experience in all aspects of woodland operations and management. 

These qualifications will ensure they are able to get worthwhile employment in woodland and forestry industries throughout the UK.  Particularly so as all our practical training will be carried out in ancient woodlands which need highly skilled operators.

KWES mainly works with woodland owners who recognise that the increasing demand for timber and wood for fuel provides an opportunity to restore their unmanaged woods back to economic sustainability.  KWES agrees to bring their woods back into production over a period of time using a rotational coppicing system in accordance with a Forestry Commission management plan.  

In return KWES can either be allowed to extract and sell the wood its apprentices cut or alternatively we can work on a contract basis for woodland owners whose woods are in need of restoration.

All our apprentices work to the highest possible standards and are supervised and work with our fully qualified team leaders.   Our workforce come equipped with their personal protective equipment, chain saws and other equipment as well as insurance.   When necessary we even provide specialised equipment for use in ancient woodlands such as a low impact forwarding trailer.

Do you own a woodland in need of restoration and if so would you like to make contact with KWES to see if we can help?

Please contact KWES’s administrator for more information:

Susannah Ferguson
07860 942900

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