About two years ago, we didn’t know our Douglas fir from our Larch, or our Ash from our Beech. Thanks to your tree identification chart, coupled with a small library of forestry books and much practical experience within woodlands, has brought us to where we are now. A couple about to embark on small woodland ownership and management.
We first became interested in woodlands and their management whilst spending a long summer at a campsite attached to a one hundred acre wood. We enjoyed spending time in the woodland environment so much that we decided that we wanted to learn more. Through extensive reading, undertaking volunteer work in several different woodlands and discussions with woodland owners, managers and foresters, we now feel ready to take on the management of our own small wood.
The woodlands we have worked in have had very differing management objectives. These have included management for: private enjoyment; public recreation; firewood production (on both a domestic and commercial level); conservation; production of high quality timber; coppice; coppice crafts & green woodwork and as a venue for education.
Having worked in these varied environments we have gained many practical skills and learned to use many different tools and pieces of equipment. It has been of great value to us to have gained knowledge of such a wide range of management objectives, as it has enabled us to realise the management aims that are important to us.
All of our woodland knowledge and skills to date is a result of reading and working alongside others. We felt we would benefit from attending some courses specific to the areas that we wished to develop further. We selected courses, which were of particular interest and relevance to us and the type of management we intend to carry out. The courses included green woodwork, basic chainsaw maintenance and crosscutting, felling small trees, continuous cover forestry and marketing woodland product.
We have been looking for a wood to purchase for the last year or so and have viewed many. Our search has been at times exciting and at others, saddening. Excitement when imagining a wood’s potential and sadness when seeing the damage caused by careless management practices, often in pursuit of a fast buck. We have recently visited a woodland, which seems to fulfil many of the criteria important to us. These being its location, secluded and surrounded by beautiful countryside, yet with good roadside access, its manageable size, and its variety of age and species of trees. We have now had an offer accepted and, all being well, we will soon be the owners of a beautiful woodland.
We would like to thank all the people who have helped us to get to where we are today, including Woodland Heritage, who have funded some of the courses we have attended.
Ben Hill and Jo Rowland