My best friend has a patch of woodland just over 10 acres. He has his workshop there, and doesn't really have enough time to manage it due to most of his time being taken up with the business of making and selling his craft. He has offered myself and another friend use of space within the woods to create a forest garden. It's a lovely space, it's free, and offers a win-win.
I've tried to find the answer by using places like gov.uk but can't find a clear enough answer. As we are dealing with young woodland and will be looking to swap out some of the hazel, birch, ash, brambles and ivy with a greater variety of usable species and then sell produce from the forest garden - will that be change of land use? Will we have to seek change of use with the local authority?
I would just phone the LA planning department and ask them, but I'm worried that despite being in Devon they'll not know what I'm talking about and misunderstand.
That sounds like a very exciting proposition!
If it was me, my personal instinct would be to not flag up my plans in the firm belief I am not doing any harm! And only enhancing the beauty and function of the woodland. But, I can understand you wanting some confirmation before starting to invest your money, time and love.
Have you thought of contacting the forestry commission or the woodland trust? When I was looking to buy UK woodland in the past it has usually got some sort of protection written into the "ownership" in some way. But if you're not planning to live there and "build" then who's gonna notice?
I wish you all the success with your forest garden creation*
I think this is one of those riduculous situations where authorities don't really know despite enforcing the rules. You might get different answers according to how you present the idea or wether you get the correct person on the end of the phone.
My understanding is orchards are generally considered agricultural land. Woodlands are not therefore different rules apply. Therefore what defines a woodland? The nearest I found was here:
"The definition of woodland in United Kingdom forestry statistics is land under stands of trees with a canopy cover of at least 20% (or having the potential to achieve this), including integral open space, and including felled areas that are awaiting restocking."
That to me sounds no different from a potential forest garden, it also seems to be for thier statistics so I tried thier search function but got no furthur.
People sell stuff from there woodlands all the time but apparently it can be a bit weird grey area again as long your not heavily foresting it usually doesn't seem to an issue though.
Taking out things might be affected by stipulations for example wether its in a conservation area, wether any is ancient woodland and tree perservation orders. This sounds highly unlikely with the species you mentioned though.
Also if you do ask your LA I would not use the phrase 'forest garden'. They might have no idea what that is and consider that a garden. I think if you asked wether you could grow trees for timber and happened to sell produce on the side there would not be an issue. Fruit woods and nut trees good make good timber too and its not uncommon for them to be in woodland.
If you grew it all from seed it would also be hard to prove you even planted it.