Small Woodland Owners' Group

Woodland Insurance

Paperwork, grants, legal issues

Postby Kentish Man » Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:56 pm

Hi there - as some of you may already know, I'm currently looking into buying a small woodland in the South East of England. As part of the uhm-ing and err-ing process, the issue of Woodland Insurance has cropped up and I wondered if anyone here has any experiences of it - good or bad.

My vision for the woodland I'm interested in at the moment, is for family and friends only at this stage as its not really in a suitable location to be opened up to all. However, there is a public footpath running alongside part of it, which leads to the possibilities of needing insurance.

From what I understand you can buy public liability insurance that protects the wood-owner against various risks associated with owning the woodland. I also understand there's probably an awful lot more to it than that, but in a nutshell, I'd like to be legally guarded against any eventuality whereby any member of the public is injured by walking along the path or even if trespassing into my proposed woodland.

Clearly, I'd like to avoid anything like that happening in the first place by ensuring all aspects of the woodland are as safe as can be through proper maintenance, but after all, accidents can and do happen.

Can anyone recommend a good insurer and has anyone here fallen foul of not having insurance, or not having it back them up in the event of a claim?

Many thanks for reading!

Kentish Man
Posts: 78
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 4:52 pm

Postby tracy » Tue Oct 06, 2009 5:24 am

Hi Kentish Man

There are already a couple of discussions on insurance that you might find useful


We have taken out insurance with Beechtree and our friends and family are covered to help.

If you do want just PL then RAP insurance is cheap, but be sure you know exactly what you are covered for.

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Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 6:30 pm

Postby docsquid » Tue Oct 06, 2009 9:55 am

We have gone with NFU. However we needed cover for various things as well as the wood, and the package that they offered was good. They have included our tractor, our car, our house and contents, our product and public liability for our business (that includes woodland products but also includes our other security products business and my candle-making), as well as public liability, third party liability and employers' liability for the woods that includes cover for open days (it isn't open to the public all the time and doesn't have a right of way through the wood), and for volunteers.

We inspect the trees ourselves, and get any judgements confirmed by a professional tree surgeon who usually carries out the work for us. He also does a roadside tree survey for us. He is the tree surgeon that the Council use, so very good and very reliable.

When we have open days, everybody is given a health and safety leaflet, advised to stick to the guided tours at least to start with, and we also put up signs warning about deep ponds. We fence off any hazards we don't want them near using hazard tape (e.g. our derelict building, trenches we haven't back-filled). We carry out a risk assessment before each open day as well, as some hazards change. However we don't put up permanent signs by the ponds - if poachers or trespassers choose to come in by night and drown, then they were warned at the boundary that it is private property and has hazards and they shouldn't be there.

We don't allow volunteers to use power tools, although there is nothing preventing this in the insurance. However, we do have a volunteer fully trained in the military in the use of all kinds of power tools and we do let him use them. Normally we wouldn't. We use them ourselves.

Stephen hasn't got a chainsaw certificate, but he did have half a day's training from the above tree-surgeon and does some of the work with the tree surgeon under his supervision - we are paying the tree surgeon to do the work, but Stephen does some of it with him watching and learns in the process. We think for our purposes this personalised training is better than a generic certificate as it deals with what we are doing ourselves including things that aren't in the basic certificate. He always wears full PPE.

The NFU seem to take the view that if you have taken reasonable care, then you are covered. We have done the best we can, but I daresay like all insurers they would try and find a way to avoid paying out if somebody did make a claim!

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Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2009 2:37 pm

Postby RichardKing » Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:49 am

Just changed my house/contents insurance to NFU Mutual.

I suddenly thought to ask about covering the woodland for public liability.

They have included it for only an additional £52-

Posts: 388
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 9:30 pm

Postby James M » Sun Dec 20, 2009 2:55 pm

Your house and motor insurance will probably cover you for personal liability claims up to 50k or so. i.e. anyone sues you for anything non business related.

James M
Posts: 145
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 4:57 pm

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