Wednesday, 25 March 2009

March – panning for gold

More processing of the coppiced wood, it feels like a slow process when you are only there once or twice a month. In addition to that, I also did a little work to let more light into the glade by felling a few small trees at the fenceline and ring-barking a mature birch at the south end of the glade. The intention is that as well as allowing more light it will also provide some standing deadwood for the wildlife. I’ve taken a similar approach with an oak at the edge of the glade, but in this case I am experimenting with partial ring-barking. I have left about 25% of the tree’s circumference not ringed with the intention that the tree will have mostly standing deadwood and present little shade, while avoiding completely killing the tree. It is an experiment and only time will tell how successful it is.

Silva Energy visited to survey what wood we could offer them for their new bioenergy business, so if all goes well there could be an income to offset some of the expense of woodland ownership. In an effort to generate enough cash to buy himself some dog biscuits, Che has learnt how to pan for gold; see photo below.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

February 2009. For Bluebells Or Brambles?

A couple of visits this month and the coppicing is all done, we coppiced approx half an acre again this winter. Many of the felled trees have been processed, but there’s still a lot more logging and stacking to do. We can now see the trees for the wood, especially the oak standards in the coppiced area which last year were on the edge of the area, but are now standing more majestic in the open. The wood now has clear air across pretty much its full width, from the field boundary at the south, across the glade then over 2 seasons worth of coppicing to the track at the north. I will probably take out a few more trees at the south boundary to make it more open to the butterflies etc that will hopefully be making use of this space. In amongst the regrowing coppice that was felled a year ago there is a mass of brambles which should be full of flowers and blackberries later this year, so it’s an as yet unmade decision whether to attack the brambles and let more sun reach the ground (for the bluebells etc), or to leave the brambles for the benefits provided by its flowers and fruit. I may end up doing a bit of both. One thing that will be removed is the little patch of young rhododendron I spotted recently. Spring is definitely here and one of the signs is the ‘lambs tails’ on the hazel.

There have been no other thefts from the wood since the spade disappeared, which is promising. Although there were signs that someone had been in the glade, everything seamed to still be there. We are taking a risk leaving chairs etc in the bender, but don’t want to end up with paranoia spoiling enjoyment of the wood and having to lock everything away each time we leave.