Where the Timber Goes

Several of the key sawmills that take the timber are in East Anglia, but there is also a major customer in South Yorkshire. The business there used to be in supplying timber for mining, but structural timber and fencing have now taken over. Although much of the forest's timber goes for fencing, some of it is capable of higher grade uses such as roof trusses, says Mr Malone.

Every part of the tree is used, and trees of all sizes have a market. The smallest diameter trees can be used for round fencing, or may go to the chipboard factory. Paper isn't made from the forest's trees however, adds Mr Malone. The transportation distances are too great, and spruce is preferred for paper because of its longer fibres.

Some of the waste from the timber felling is also used as fuel in the innovative biomass power station a few miles from Santon Downham. Branches, needles and twigs are chipped by a local firm, and sold for mixing in with other fuels such as the litter from chicken farms.

Heaps of chippings can also be seen all over the forest - these are left to compost down as mulch for gardening, or to be partially seasoned prior to their use as power station fuel.