Agricultural land prices seem to be heavily recorded, and covered in the press but buying woodland does not seem to get much publicity, yet the demand and interest is extremely strong and some prices obtained are truly astonishing.
David Banks has recently sold a 2.5 acre, 25 year-old Ash Wood for a staggering sum of £17,000 per acre. It did have road frontage to a country lane and had a little spring fed pool. The guide price was £10,000 per acre. It is true to say that small woods of up to 10 acres are in the highest demand, especially if they are within reasonable reach of urban living and are being purchased for amenity purposes.
Another small wood on Martley Hillside, with very little timber value, was sold last year for over £8,000 per acre. The previous year 14 acres at Astley, which was well stocked with Larch and Sweet Chestnut, sold for £100,000 which equates to £7,142 per acre.
At the low end of the scale David also sold 23 acres of a mixed hardwood plantation near Stourport for only £3,400 an acre in 2015. Although there was plenty of interest, the size of the wood was too big for the amenity market and too small for the commercial woodland market.
Very few large woods are sold in the Midlands and one has to look to Wales or Scotland to find big commercial woods of hundreds or thousands of acres. These are usually planted with pure conifers and tend to sell at between £2,500 to £5,000 per acre depending on accessibility and the age and quality of timber.
Apart from selling Freehold woodland David also sells a tremendous amount of standing timber. Due to the insatiable demand for chip and pellets the value of all standing timber has increased quite considerably over the last few years. This has been further affected by the low value of the pound which has increased the cost of imports.
In the hardwood section oak remains the main timber in demand. The standing prices of top-quality planking butts making £10 per cubic foot, large beam oak £5 per cubic foot and fencing oak £2.50 per cubic foot. A really good oak is worth in excess of £1,000. Ash and beech are not in particularly good demand and the problems with ash disease could make things worse. Good ash is about £3 a cubic foot standing, however, sycamore, (most of which gets exported to Germany, for furniture making) is in good demand with ripple sycamore making £10 per cubic foot and unfigured Sycamore £5 per cubic foot.
As far as conifers are concerned the most valuable is Douglas fir with saw logs demanding £70 per ton delivered into a saw mill, Sitka spruce and larch £55 to £60 per ton and Corsican and Scotts between £45 and £50 per ton. People wanting loads of chip wood delivered will be paying £50 per ton and the same applies to hardwood timber for logging.