Learn how to manage traditional British and Irish woodlands, and to create new woods and manage associated habitats.

This handbook covers all aspects of woodland management and creation. It is designed for use by conservation volunteers and others interested in the management of traditional woodlands in north west Europe.

It contains everything you need to know about woodlands – the history of woodlands in the UK, traditional management techniques as well as their composition and conservation value. Loads of information about planting, early care, coppicing, felling, extraction, green woodworking and charcoal making and much more.

The wildlife and landscape value of nearly all our remaining woodlands is dependent on the interaction between people and natural processes. The traditional management of ancient coppiced woodlands, wood pastures and areas such as the New Forest has been vital in creating and maintaining their special qualities.

What to expect

Woodland subjects

Background info

Illustration of different bowsaws

Loads of background information – woodland history, conservation, the law, flora and fauna, safety, tools and equipment.

Managing a woodland

Notch planting a small tree

Clear, step-by-step instructions on all aspects of woodland management – habitats, tree planting, coppicing, felling and much more.

Woodland products & use

Illustration of a typical charcoal kiln

Comprehensive details about coppicing, firewood, green woodworking, charcoal making, woodland habitats, access, recreation and so on.

Woodlands: a practical handbook – chapters

The original, printed TCV handbook “Woodlands, a practical handbook” contained 205 pages. Every one of these pages is included in these digital versions.

A brief introduction to the management of woodlands.

A brief look at woodlands from the end of the last Ice Age until the present day.

The woodland ecosystem along with its flora and fauna.

The law relating to trees and woodlands, planning, felling, conservation and more.

The important aspects of health and safety while working in woodlands.

Some of the issues which need consideration when planning the management of a wood.

The art of planting and looking after young trees to ensure their best chance of survival.

Pruning, thinning, the establishment of woodland field layer plants and the management of glades are described in this chapter.

Basic practical techniques for felling small trees, clearing undergrowth and other woodland operations suitable for hand tools.

A description of coppicing, or cutting down a tree to produce new growth.

Green woodworking skills including turning, structures and hurdles.

The production of firewood and charcoal from a woodland described in detail.

A description of the many and varied habitats occurring in and around woodlands.

Managing access and recreation in woodlands.

Outline information about potential woodland grants is given here, with contact details for further information.

Providers of training in woodland management skills.

A list of manufacturers and suppliers of materials used in woodland management.

Details of the major and minor tree and shrub species suitable for creating new native woodlands, based on National Vegetation Classification (NVC) woodland types.

The scientific names of our tree and shrub species.

A list of the publications referred to in the text, as well as others relevant to the subject of woodlands.

An explanation of some of the terms found in this handbook.

An explanation of the abbreviations found in this handbook.

What is in the handbooks?

Step by step

All the processes in the handbooks are explained in easy to follow language, using step-by-step guides that are ideal for all levels.

Clearly Illustrated

Over 2,000 helpful illustrations accompany the text, adding clarity.


The handbooks cover all the topics you need to improve your skills and knowledge.


Written by conservation experts, the handbooks are highly valued by users across the conservation sector.