Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Swings and Roundabouts

After being led to believe (by the council) that permitted development approval for the shelter was just a cheque and form away, and after several months of follow-up to-ing and fro-ing, we have been forced to take down the shelter. Very annoying especially as they seemed to say one thing then pointed to something else. Advice for anyone else planning to build a shelter or whatever in their wood; provide evidence of what you are using the wood for (even if it isn’t asked for in the form) such as copy of woodland management plan and photos of work done; don’t assume what the council tells you is the whole story (we were told one thing in letter, but there was info filed online that we weren’t aware of that would have clarified the situation a lot earlier). Considering the location next to a SSSI and close to a public footpath it was the right decision to go the official route rather than finish it then have to take it down; but if in a secluded non-SSSI wood with no footpath then I’d think about whether to just build something with low impact in keeping with the woods and hope for the best. The most annoying thing is not taking it down, but that it’s OK to have an ugly steel shipping container but not a small wooden shelter.

The Bongo is great, easy to drive right into the woods and very comfy to sleep in. Our visits since last posting have mostly seen us doing general management such as cutting back branches and leaning trees to keep the footpath free and controlling the bracken in the clearing so that other plants can grow and increase the diversity. We have more variety there now including hedge woundwort, buttercups, nettles and several things we don’t recognise. A big thanks to Rob for giving us the IR camera which has captured shots of rabbits, squirrels, foxes, deer and a woodcock over the past month. Deer shots tended to be from their rear so we think maybe they have a circuit route they follow; we’ll point the camera the other way and see if we get more faces than tails.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Winter’s Work

It’s been a while since the last post but we have not been idle in the woods. A few trees at the edge of the glade have been felled and put to good use as posts for the ‘forestry shelter’ we are building. Construction was delayed by the local planners but they have now been provided with evidence that the wood is being managed for forestry and that seems to have satisfied them. This is inspired by the classic roundhouses but is unlikely to see any wattle, daub or thatch; we are building for practicality rather than reconstructing the past so plan ‘A’ will be a tarpaulin roof. A central tripod construction adds stability as well as supporting the roof timbers and doubles as somewhere to work with the fro that Santa Claus bought (he also bought an axe, both made by the elves at Grandfors). The fro will be really useful in splitting wood for walls and roof supports, and maybe sometime in the future we’ll supplement the tarpaulin with some chestnut shingles. We have also bought a Mazda Bongo which is a 4x4 camper van, so we now have more room for bringing stuff to/from the woods as well as having some weekends away.