The Green Guide returns – gamekeepers’ “go-to” guide reimagined for the 21st century woodland manager

A classic guide to managing woodland for game has been updated and re-released by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) in time for The Game Fair 2022. Woodlands for Pheasants and Wildlife was launched by the GWCT’s Head of Advisory and Education Dr Roger Draycott at The Game Fair.

For a generation of gamekeepers and land managers, the Game Conservancy ‘green guides’ were a revelation – giving them the guidance they needed to manage the countryside well. One of the most popular of these was Woodland for Pheasants, first published in 1961 and rewritten by GWCT advisor Ian McCall in 1988.

Of the book’s new incarnation, Dr Roger Draycott said: “The GWCT, or Game Conservancy as we were back then, has always been proud to offer the ‘green guides’ and we are delighted to launch this updated version of Woodland for Pheasants and Wildlife.

“The new edition reflects the modern gamekeeper’s role as custodian of the countryside and champion of biodiversity and offers a practical guide to maximising the benefits for other wildlife of land managed well for game.”

With tree planting high on the public agenda, the most recent addition to the GWCT Advisory team, Alex Keeble, has rewritten the guide with Joe Dimbleby, refreshing it to reflect changes in best practice and bring the guidelines up to date. The book also embraces the important role good game management can have for many other species and this is reflected in its new title.

Alex Keeble describes the green guides as forming “the backbone of my career”.

“As a gamekeeper,” he said, “the first edition of this book Woodlands for Pheasants was my ‘go-to’ guide on how to create and manage a woodland habitat to benefit both game and wildlife.”

Scientific knowledge and best practice game management continue to underpin the highly practical advice on offer in the new edition. Chapters cover the design and management of new woodland and renovation of existing woodland, as well as the financial considerations, plus advice on tree and shrub species, and sustainable gamebird releasing. Making it, said Alex, “relevant for anyone managing woodland for timber, wildlife, game or all three.”

Joe Dimbleby commented: “The publication of this new edition is very timely. Shoot managers may well have fewer birds this season due to supply issues and will be looking at better ways to keep them in the covers and maximise their drives. Woodland for Pheasants and Wildlife holds many of the secrets of successful shoot management.”

Tim Weston of the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation said of the new publication: “The GWCT has always led the way with advice that is backed up by science and put together in a way that is easily put into practice by gamekeepers, shoot managers and other conservationists. With more emphasis on planting trees, it is ever more important to plant the right tree in the right place for the right reason. This guide will prove an invaluable resource to create woodland that you can practically use for game management which will benefit wildlife and the environment with outcomes that work for gamekeepers and shoot managers.”

You can pre-order your copy of the new book from the GWCT shop.